Facing criticism can be the hardest thing to do – especially professionally and the fact that you have put your efforts in full force just adds to the demotivation. Now, it is a business fact that however good you are, you will ALWAYS have customers who are unhappy. But keep it in mind that if you are lucky, they will complain. An aggressive and spontaneous customer will simply discard your services, sometimes even silently, if he/she is dissatisfied. The very reason why your clients are complaining is that they are ready to give you a chance to cover up for their dissatisfaction and they want you to improve.
First and foremost, identify your customers. Population is heterogeneous and so are your customers. Each person will need a different approach of solution. Some of the most common types of customers in the context of complaints are as follows:
- The gentle one – This customer is facing an issue but is very submissive and doesn’t want to burden you with only his complaint. Take responsibility for these customers, inquire deeply about his issue and solve it efficiently.
- The aggressive one – This person will confront you over-boldly regarding his issues and his/her behaviour reflects authoritativeness. Be careful not to tackle him/her with the same behaviour. Be polite and pick up his issues. Do not be over-submissive, you (and your team) have worked honestly too.
- The extravagant – The customer who will never delay in payments but would want a balancing service provision. It is very important that you categorize these customers separately and cater to their needs despite continuous importuning.
- The chronic objector – This customer sets levels for ultimate patience testing. Nothing happens to satisfy him/her. There are two types of customers within this range. One will be complaining at all times but once he achieves his sought goal, he shall be one of your happiest customers and may lead to many referrals. The other will simply complain, he/she has no set objective and will simply point out errors.
Whichever type of customer you are faced with, always remember that he requires a genuine and professional solution from you in the quickest possible timeframe. You need to provide him/her with the same, to keep up your company standards. There are a few points that may be considered to help you with handling your clients.
- Always acknowledge the complaint before you give an explanation. It gives the customer a positive feedback that you are actually understanding what he/she is going through and therefore will be able to help better.
- Do not interrupt a customer when he/she is complaining. It further gets away with their mood.
- If immediate action is not possible for the issue, assure your customer about the timeline that will be required to complete the tasks. Always remember to communicate back to your clients regarding any updates that you have done regarding their complaint.
- Give them a hypothesis of what actions will be taken with respect to their complains and what will be the results. It gives them the idea of what is to be expected and also shows them that you are well acquainted with your work.
- You may have erred in your previous tasks; it’s no harm to apologize if your mistake is honest.
- Time matters. And it matters a lot. Show your customers that you care about their time by quickly acting on their complaints. Never put any customer related tasks for later on. Quicker actions taken on customer complains improve your impression to big heights.
- Always re-communicate. It shows your customer that you are really paying attention to them and may reduce the chances of any further complains.
- Keep a record of all complains and actions that have been taken for the same. You can refer back to them if at all needed. These can also be used for reporting purposes.
The key to handling customer complaints is to be liable – focus on the effect, not the cause. Use your customer complaints intelligently for what they are actually meant to be – a pathway to improve your services.