Remember the old adage, “The customer is always right”?  A lot of companies have moved away from it because many consumers took advantage of their position.  But what if we business owners still operated with that philosophy in mind?  Or at least did whatever we could to provide the ultimate customer experience?  I believe if we do that, we earn customer loyalty.  We have to remember when dealing with customers who are unhappy that there are always two sides to a story.  Plus, their perception of the situation is their reality and it is useless to try and convince them otherwise.  You’re only going to make them mad if you try to tell them they’re wrong, especially if they’re emotional.  So what can we do?  We can do our best to work with our customers to find a resolution to the situation both quickly and efficiently without simply just saying, “You’re right.”  When a customer calls with a complaint, follow these five steps:


1.  Empathize—think about it.  How does it make you feel to hear the words, “Oh, I’m so sorry about that”?  Apologizing for the situation doesn’t mean you are agreeing with it.  It simply helps to lower the defensiveness of the customer who feels they’ve been wronged.

2. Really listen—stop whatever else you’re doing and actively listen to their complaint.  You will want to be able to focus on the situation so you will know how to…

3. Ask questions—many times the customer’s original complaint isn’t their biggest or only problem.  Asking questions helps you understand the customer’s point of view, peel the layers back and fully understand the situation.

4. Take action—do what you feel is necessary to alleviate the complaint.  Sometimes the customer just needed to hear you were sorry.  Sometimes they need a refresher on your services.  Either way, fix it.

5. Follow up—when applicable, call or reach out to your customer to make sure the situation has been resolved.  It will go a long way with them!

 

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