At some point in time, anyone who involved in running his or her own business has to deal with an upset customer. The challenge is to manage the situation in the best possible way such that the customer leaves thinking that you operate a great organisation focussed on service excellence. Customer satisfaction should be the most important consideration for business owners as they always need highly satisfied customers who are ever willing to come back for more. Whether it is front-end sales or backend development, customer complaints are common and if you are going to deliver high value to your customers, the primary focus should be to provide solutions to their problems.
Where ever there is a problem, in there is a solution too, but implementing it well is not at all easy. Knowing how to handle customer complaints will greatly reduce your work related stress. If you are able to solve the problems effectively yourself, you will definitely stand out among your competitors.
How to handle customers?
Before you go and meet your customers, you must understand their problem well and be able to present possible solutions that can alleviate their difficulty. What you can do is to take a step back to analyse the situation when a complaint comes in. What you should not do is to counter the situation with an emotional response that will only serve to irritate the customers further. Below are some of the steps that you can possibly adopt:
- It is easy to be defensive especially if you do not believe you are at fault. Put yourself in their shoes and listen to them patiently.
- You may well have handled a similar situation before. However, for the customer, their complaint is unique to them. Treat them as an important individual by listening to their problem in full.
- Never pass the customer around from person to person.Each complaint should ideally be handled by one staff member. Therefore, you should always ensure that the person assigned to the case has the authority to deal with the situation.
- Prepare yourself before meeting customer. The most important thing is to prepare your mind to handle the situation cam even though there is an emotional response from customer.
So what are possible approaches to problem solving?
- Before starting each project make contract with customer regarding the timeline and try to finish it on time.
- Think what is the solution you are expecting if you were in customer’s position and implement that solution to solve the issue.
- Find multiple solutions to solve the problem. Do not stop at the first solution that you or others identify. It may be good, but much better ones may exist. Evaluate alternative scenarios. As objectively as possible, assess the pros and cons of each.
- Analyse the problem. What might be the causes of the problem? Can you rule out any causes? How long has it been going on? How severe is it? Finding answers to these questions may help you to find a suitable solution.