Dealing with Customer Complaints

11th November 2014

Now today we’re on to one of the touchiest business subjects, complaints from your customers. First off I don’t want to give that tired hackneyed “every unhappy customer is an opportunity advice”. No generally if a customer isn’t happy something has either gone wrong or you simply haven’t met their expectations. So this leads to the question, how should you deal with an angry customer? Below is the step-by-step plan we use.

  1. Firstly take a step back and remove your own personal feelings from the situation. The instinctive reaction to criticism is to get defensive. If you can prevent this you’re already in a better state of mind to handle the complaint.
  2. Step two is a big one: empathize. Try and understand the customer’s position, would you be unhappy if you were in their shoes.
  3. Take the time to listen to the complaint; trying to rush into a solution before you hear the full story can do more bad than good.
  4. Work out a solution with rather than for the customer. They know what they want, simply work with them to achieve it. Obviously there are a variety of situational factors that will effect what you can and can’t do but this is the basic principle.

Throughout there are various qualities that will help the process. We’ve mentioned empathy but a big one is patience. If you remain patient and helpful a customer’s angry will subside. Remember anger clouds the judgment and often makes people unreasonable but it will pass.

The final message of this blog is to stay positive, not just for the customer but also for your own state of mind. Retaining a positive frame will help you feel better throughout the interaction and hopefully it’ll influence the customer.

Remember there will rarely be an unsatisfied customer who’s opinion you can’t change.