Maybe I should rename this post ‘how to care for complaining customers’?
The art of being able to handle difficult situations with confidence, is the key to managing customer complaints effectively.
Dan Gingiss writes “customer service starts when customer experience fails… ” If you haven’t met the customers expectations, if you have failed to connect on an emotional level or if you have messed up parts of the customer journey, of course your customers will seek a resolution to their issue, worse still, they may want a refund!
There are 3 types of unhappy customer:
- The angry customer, because of a real or perceived failure. Imagine you’ve ordered party food to be delivered for a special birthday gathering. The real failure would be that it doesn’t arrive, but the perceived failure is that the food isn’t up to the customer’s standards (yet it’s the way the caterer always makes it).
- The demanding customer who wants more than seems fair. If your beautician is running 5 minutes late, would you demand a free treatment?
- The rude customer, the one that is condescending or rude…
How would you handle theses customers, especially the last one?
Over the years, I have worked hard to control my response.
You must not take the complaints personally and you have to remember that the end goal is to send the customer away happy, so that they’ll come back!
To help you manage customer complaints, I’d like you to meet LAURA.
L Listen to the customer! Take a look at this blog post on communication for further information.
A Acknowledge what the customer is saying and apologise for them having to complain.
U Understand what the customer really needs? What do they actually want?
R Relate, be empathic by putting yourself in their shoes.
A Avoid the blame game and take immediate action.
Once the customer has gone away happy, you should stand back and look into the cause of the issue? Do you have a training need around a new product or service? Have you over promised just to make the sale, knowing that you can’t fulfill the customers expectations. Over time, try and iron out the main pain points that are causing your customers to complain.
- Don’t take it personally.
- Listen to the customer.
- Remember that you want this customer to keep coming back and to keep spending!