Even if what you are selling is goodness and mercy, there is always the possibility of an unhappy customer. Negative feedback doesn’t always mean something is wrong with you or the business. Sometimes, they are simply pointers to what should be improved upon or adjusted a bit.
And the good thing is, it is always better to have an angry customer who comes to show his or her displeasure than to have those who just silently walk away and then go around spreading the news of their bad experience. So, when a customer comes around to lodge a complaint, the simple truth is that the person is still giving you the chance of correcting the mistake and redeeming your image.
What are the things you should pay attention to, when a customer lodges a complaint?
1. Listen to understand, and with empathy
There is so much power in listening and making the next person feel totally understood. The goal of an angry customer is to ensure he or she makes you feel how he or she feels. So, it’s your job to help them achieve that goal as quickly as possible. And it’s not what you do by hurrying them up or listening absentmindedly. Rather, you do it with rapt attention and patience.
2. Acknowledge the problem, and take full responsibility
Telling an angry customer that you’re truly sorry about the way he or she feels and that you’re ready to take responsibility for the inconveniences caused is like applying balm to a wound. Trying to play the blame game or shift responsibilities when a customer is not happy is never the right thing to do. It’s time to take full responsibility and be ready to provide a solution.
3. Proffer actionable solutions instead of mere excuses
Don’t just listen and acknowledge the problem. You must be ready to provide a solution. An angry customer is not just interested in your acknowledgement. You have to be able to offer something that cures the pain or at least reduces it. It has to be something that compensates them for the inconveniences they’ve probably gone through.
4. Show genuine apology and appreciate the customer
One thing you must understand is that no rational customer wants to go through the stress of having to complain that a product isn’t working or a service didn’t meet his or her expectations. The whole process of encountering a problem with a product or service, returning with a complaint, and waiting for the problem to be resolved is exhaustive in itself. This is why some customers will prefer to stomach their pain and just walk away. So, you must be ready to tender a genuine apology and show appreciation for the fact that the person came back to you.
5. Put systems in place to avoid a reoccurrence of the problem
When there is no system in place for the achievement of a particular end result or the avoidance of known pitfalls, the fate of the business is left to chance. You don’t want this to happen to you as a business owner. Every complaint you receive should drive you into evaluation and iteration. Sometimes, it could mean that you need to improve your communication and how you manage customers’ expectations. It could mean setting up some administrative controls. The goal is to never be the same person you were before receiving feedback. Every piece of feedback should result in a better product, service, or process.