Nobody likes getting complaints, but sometimes things go wrong. The way you respond to customer complaints can have a big effect on your business.
If you handle complaints in the wrong way, you can end up losing valuable customers and the referrals they may have sent you. Handle them really badly and you could get some unwanted attention on social media.
On the flip-side, if you handle complaints well, you can end up increasing the bond you have with your customers and even turn them into raving fans. Most people are fairly reasonable and understand that sometimes things don’t go to plan. As long as you’re seen to be responding in the right way and trying to sort things out, most people will stick with you.
As an added benefit, even though it may not feel like it at the time, complaints offer an insight into your customers, their desires and their expectations. If you’re consistently getting the same complaints it could be a signal to update your processes and sales materials to address them.
So, how should you go about handling customer complaints over the phone?
Of course, there are so many variables involved when a situation goes wrong, and it’s not always clear what to do, let alone easy to fix.
Sometimes it may not even be your fault. The customer may have made a mistake, have unrealistic expectations, or something completely unforeseen might have happened you can’t do anything about. Examples of this might be from an item being delivered to the wrong address (or getting lost in the post), to a shipping container sinking with your product onboard, and everything inbetween.
As a general rule, it’s usually a good idea to absorb smaller losses and make sure the customer is happy, especially if they have bought from you before and likely will do so again in the future.
Alternatively, if it’s clearly the other party who’s at fault, if they are being very unreasonable, or you suspect they are trying to deceive you, it may be better to stick to your principles, refuse any sort of refund / compensation and advise them to take their custom elsewhere in the future. Your customer support staff will thank you for that and will have more time to work with customers who deserve it.