CUSTOMER CARE: Dealing with Customers’ Complaints

I’m presently organizing a painting exhibition and had to use the services of a printing company for the posters.

I’m presently organizing a painting exhibition and had to use the services of a printing company for the posters.

At the reception of my order, I realized that the colors on the invitation cards were different from the posters. When I called the company, the only thing the service person was able to tell me was to see and talk to his boss. He didn’t even attempt to apologize.

He just didn’t show any care, concern or empathy.
Customer service is also when things do not go on well.

Mistakes do often happen and this is the stage where service people need to be able to transform a complaining customer into a loyal one.

It is often said that “customer complaints are the schoolbooks from which we learn”.

Complaints actually help us to know the things that need improvement so that we can work on them. They are a real good source of correcting our mistakes.

Customers who complain rather do us a favor by telling us what goes wrong. There are many customers who will not say anything about the poor services they receive but will go on and talk about their bad experiences to 10 different people who will also tell other people.

Just imagine your reputation!
Unfortunately, many service people unknowingly cause customer complaint situations to escalate and below are some tips to help you solve them professionally.

1) The customer is always right! (Even when they are wrong!), it is important to understand that there is no need arguing with the customer. Research shows that 7 out of 10 customers will do business with you again if you solve a complaint professionally. Getting in your last words may help you win the battle, however, even if you win the battle, there is a good chance you will lose the war.

2) Listen to the complaint.

This means allowing the customer to speak without being interrupted. Don’t assume you already know the problem. One particular way of showing the customer that you have understood his problem is to repeat or rephrase his complaints.

For example; “What I hear you saying is that, the colors of your order isn’t exactly what we agreed on. Is that right?”

3) Offer an apology
Whether the problem was caused by you or someone else in the company, it is all the same the fault of the company and you represent that company!

You need to owe the complaint and offer an apology. Never defend or justify. The customer is not interested in how or who is responsible for the poor service.

4) Offer a solution. The main reason why a customer brings to you his complaints is because he/she wants a solution. Too many excuses do not solve the complaints. Just offer him an alternative solution.

As says Donald Porter, “Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong”.
And in my case with the printing company, I was lucky enough to talk to the manager who was professional enough and who offered to do again the whole printing process.

And today, I have become an advocate for this printing company because I know that in case things go on wrong, they are able to fix it.

5) Thank the customer at the end for having complained

Why? With the simple act of complaining, your customers are telling you, “I care about your business”. They are giving you the opportunity to solve the problem so that they can come back.

Thank them for giving you a second chance.
Always try to rectify the problem because it is in your company’s best interest to solve any problems and try to make sure that they do not happen again.

Complaints should help your company to initiate a corrective action.

The author is a customer service expert currently working in Rwanda.


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