In today’s business world it is more important than ever to put a strong emphasis on customer relations with your small business. Consumers want to get the most out of every dollar spend, and to ensure that you maintain them as customers - you have to keep them happy.

Universities and other study groups have conducted studies that prove the short and long term worth in resolving customer complaints. When a customer complaint is resolved, you are not only increasing the likelihood that the person will continue to do business with you, but you’re also putting your small business in a better position to bring in even more money from referrals.

Here are a few simple tips to remember when dealing with your customer complaints:
  1. Take accountability for what your company has offered in the first place. In other words, do what you say you are going to do. If you make promises that you do not follow through on, the customer is going to want to speak with you directly. It is important for the customer to be able to get a hold of you. Make sure your number available on both your website and printed marketing materials. You might also consider putting an page on your website where customers can write comments and suggestions. Wouldn’t you want to get in touch with the owner of a business that you had a gripe with?
  2. Be positive with the customer. The majority of customers that are complaining are of course not going to be very happy with you. Don’t focus on the customer taking their business elsewhere, concentrate on the outcome and not the income. What CAN you do for them? Not what can’t you do for them. Have a positive attitude and be professional on the phone.
  3. Identify the problem, find a solution and fix it. When a customer complains, take incremental steps to find out why the problem occurred, because you don’t want the same thing to happen with other customers. Offer the customer a solution that they agree too and follow through in a timely manner to show you value their business.
  4. COMPENSATE them. Have a program in place to give disgruntled customers something in return for the inconvenience that they have experienced. If a customer doesn’t ask to be compensated you do not need to offer them anything, but you should be ready to offer future discounts or rewards to keep them happy.
  5. Thank the customer. Once again you are focusing on the future and making your business better so you get more customers. Think of their complaint as a way to improve your business. Thank them for their feedback and let them know that their input as made your business better. You have now regained their respect and increased your chances for them doing more business.