Customer Services today - How to handle a complaining customer

Here is some of the best advice for dealing with complaining clients

Wondering how to deal with a difficult client? Are you afraid that the exchanges will be heated? Whatever they are, the complaints of your clients do not mark the end of a relationship, quite the contrary. Processing customer comments, including negative ones, is a critical step which, when handled properly, will even keep the majority of even the most difficult of customers on side. Check out these tips to find out how you can lift your customer service to the top level.

9 times out of 10, your customer will still be yours after a blunder if you remedy the situation. In general, the main idea is not always to know who is right or wrong, but the desire to fix the problem. It is never easy to deal with a complaining customer but you mustn’t fall into the trap of “customer phobia.” Managing good client relationships is one of the most important pillars of overall business success. Neglecting it will simply destroy a business.

Change the way you think

Whatever the point of contact: phone, email, private message on Facebook or even in person; when you are dealing with a complaining customer, you must cultivate the reflex of putting yourself in their shoes. The attitude is of such paramount importance that it must supersede any of your own emotive or even logical responses, even when it’s the client who made a mistake. They’re not there to wreck your business. They want to be heard. Complete resolution of the issue isn’t imperative but giving it your full attention is.

Listen attentively to your customer

The most important step in dealing with dissatisfaction is active listening to what the other party has to say. From the first discussions, try to establish a transparent and trusting relationship between you and your client. Show them that you are ready to listen. If they see that you are considering their problem, that you understand they may be nervous and that you are trying to find a solution you are on the right track to reversing the situation. Keep going!

Delineate the scope of the complaint

What does the customer complain about? Why? Is it the fault of the company? Many questions will find answers through active listening. Do not draw conclusions too quickly and resist the urge to solve the problem in a flash. Only when the client has finished speaking you will be able to move on to the next step. Never go any further if you are not successful at this point. If you insist on doing so, you are sailing a leaking ship.

Reformulate the elements of dissatisfaction

Now that you have all the elements in your hand, take the time to reformulate the client’s problems to show them that you have listened attentively and understood. If you missed some of the items, the customer will be able to explain again. Use simple and objective words. For example, “If I understand you correctly, you are upset because you have not received your order in time”. Understand the problems raised and communicate that understanding to the client.

Empathize with a solution

Since the start of the exchange with your customer, you are trying to put yourself in their place. It’s time to show your empathy, and that you are considering and understanding the situation. If you are facing the customer, remember that your body communicates too. Make sure your non-verbal communication mirrors your verbal communication. The customer will be sensitive to these details. Some people tend to be too conscientious, disputing something that sometimes does not need to be an issue, and you must be prepared for this. If it turns out that customer dissatisfaction is indeed the fault of your company, apologize and propose a solution to rectify the issue. If it’s not your fault, also apologize, but not for the same reasons.

  • For example, 'We are sorry to hear that your experience in our store went badly." In all cases, you must provide a solution to the customer. The more solutions you can come up with, the better both your handling of the problem and the outcome.

Give a bonus

For example, you can offer the customer a discount on their next purchase, give a gift, bonus, etc… Do not hesitate to be creative; there is nothing better than the satisfaction of a well-resolved complaint. Once you have agreed on a solution with your client, explain the next steps. Depending on the case, follow-up in the short term. Make sure your customer is really satisfied with your solution.

Be firm

Sometimes, you’ve done everything possible, politely trying to find the best solution, but your client still behaves irritatingly without any foundation. This is a good time for you to be firm. Remind the customer of the need for mutual respect and point out that your company’s customer service has provided some solutions which have all been rejected or found insufficient. A certain degree of assertiveness sometimes engenders more appreciation than endless and impossible appeasement. Even the all-important customer must realize that there are limits that should not be violated when complaining.

We hope some points above can help you in understanding how you should act if you have a serious problem with a complaining customer. Good luck and be wise!

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