As you will probably already know, the old saying ‘the customer is always right’ isn’t necessarily, well…right. Some customers complain to gain discounted goods or services. Others have had a less than acceptable experience (through no fault of your own) and are completely justified to a moan. Whether it’s a bad nail job or a rude therapist, from time to time, complaints happen, but how you handle them can make or break your business.

Find a Quick Resolution

Word of mouth can be detrimental to an organisation which is why a speedy resolution is so important. You and your staff should be in the frame of mind to find a resolution before the customer leaves. If not, the chances that it will escalate are high. If you are unable to come to a resolution at that time, staff should reassure the customer that a higher management member of staff will investigate and make contact to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

Keep calm and listen

It can be an unpleasant situation, but when a client gets angry, it’s so important that you remain calm. Coming across as empathetic and listening to what they have to say will avoid them becoming more agitated. If you have the option to do so, invite the client to a space that’s private to prevent others from hearing and keeping it confidential.

Resolve it effectively and quickly

Word of mouth can be incredibly detrimental to an organisation which is why a speedy resolution is so important. You and your staff should be in the frame of mind that a resolution should be met before the customer leaves. If not, the chances that it will escalate are high. Alternatively, if a resolution cannot be met at that time, staff should be trained to offer peace of mind that the issue will be raised to a higher management member of staff to be investigated.

Responding to online complaints

Never has customer experience been more important than today. Due to the digital revolution, clients are in control and have no problem sharing bad experiences on social media and review websites. If you do unfortunately end up receiving a negative or lacklustre review online, it’s unwise to ignore it. Respond quickly but effectively, and you could turn the situation around, restoring faith in the business.

Respond openly

Leave a comment (where possible) directly underneath the complaint or comment. Express your apologies that the individual has not experienced your company’s usual high standards. Keep it polite and concise, making it clear to anyone reading you are happy to rectify the problem as it is not the typical experience of your clients. Once you have responded publicly, but directly, contact them privately as a follow-up. In this communication, find out more details and offer a solution.

Use complaints to the business’ advantage

While many business owners or managers see a complaint as a negative experience, it’s important to use it as a learning curve. Complaints are also a great resource to use for future training material when it comes to ‘this is what we DON’T want to happen’.

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