How to answer your customer¡¯s complaints gently

Many feel that ¡®positive criticism¡¯ is a polite way to say ¡®You suck! So better pull up your socks!¡¯ In business, this reality check comes to us in the form of customer complaints. No one likes to be told ¡®you are doing a bad job¡¯ but isn¡¯t it much better than dreaded ¡®I told you so?¡¯According to the Technical Assistance Research Program (TARP) study that was commissioned by the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, 56 %-70 % of the customers who come up to you with complaints, will do business with you again if you resolve their issue.The bottom-line therefore to treat your customer complaints as a blessing in disguise, hear them out and resolve them on a priority basis. Swift and satisfactory complaint redressal can be a priority point in your marketing strategies as well. Read these simple tips that will help you win over even your most irate customer.The complaint busters!

Designate employees specifically for troubleshooting customer complaints. A customer¡¯s irritation will increase even more if he is calling to complain but is not given any avenues to vent.

Start with a ¡®sorry¡¯ and end with a smile!

Train those employees in the art of listening and the virtue of patience. Your pep talk can include¡­

  • Receive calls by saying ¨C ¡®How may I help you. Sorry for the trouble caused.¡¯
  • Don¡¯t cut the complainant short when he is mid-way through his complaint.
  • Don¡¯t justify, argue, abuse or deny.
  • End the call with a cheery ¡®thank you¡¯ or ¡®we will try to not give you a reason to call us again.¡¯

Add a gift of appreciation to your apology!

An unexpected gift can wipe the frown your client¡¯s face, and replace it with a smile. Order promotional items to gift your clients and imprint them with a ¡®Sorry, won¡¯t happen again¡¯ or ¡®Oops¡¯. These promotional gifts act like a salve and your customers will believe you instead of being wary, when you say that their complaint is important to you.

Redress and remember!

No business is perfect and complaints will never cease. Keep a tab on the type of complaints you receive, how long it takes to address them, whether there are repeated complaints from a particular customer or repeated complaints about a particular issue, from different customers. Also request them for feedback after their complaint has been resolved.

Believe that the customer is always right and don¡¯t let him out of your sight.

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