Occasionally we like to share information on other topics from top local experts.
These great tips are thanks to Sally McMahon, Director of top learning & development company Skylark Training based here in Staffordshire.
Today’s top post is about that all important subject of customer service – really shows if you are “open for business” in the way you deal with this issue.
Please read and enjoy what Sally has to say on the subject.
What if we get complaints from customers?
Every business receives complaints from occasionally. How we react to them is key! We can get upset and take them personally, we can blame the customer. Neither of these reactions is helpful or comfortable.
Complaints can be so helpful in helping us to understand our customers and what they would like from the services or products we provide and also how we can improve what we are doing already.
Why do customers complain?
Here are a few reasons;
- They haven’t received what they were promised.
- They don’t believe that we will do what we said we would do.
- They have had a negative experience with someone in the business or something that has happened.
- They have misunderstood something.
- They have been made to accept something that they didn’t really want either .
The vast majority of customers believe they are in the right when they complain. They rarely just complain for the sake of it.
If we can have this mindset when dealing with a complaint it really helps.
Tips for dealing with complaints
Show you are interested in their complaint and that you genuinely care.
Listen……I mean really listen to them and show you have done so by summarising back to them what they have told you. This will also confirm that you heard them correctly.
Remember we all like to be heard and appreciated.
Show empathy as you listen by acknowledging how they feel and responding genuinely and appropriately to these feelings.
- “I know it can be frustrating when…….”
- “I can see you are very anxious ………..”
- “I understand. This is quite a difficult situation…..”
Be specific and name the emotion (anger, frustration, upset) and its source, such as the paperwork, the delay, outcome…. Avoid general statements as they may not come across as genuine.
These tips above will often give you an indicator of what the client wants you to do.
Avoid negative, defensive or aggressive language. Stick to positive language – what you can do. Look for areas of agreement rather than just the issues. This demonstrates that you want to help to resolve a complaint.
Ask the customer for help in coming up with ideas for a way forward. This demonstrates respect and can diffuse a situation. Another way of doing this is listening to and summarising back their thoughts and ideas and adding others.
Assure the customer that we are trying to help. This can be through Effort: When clients see that we are trying to help them, rather than promising a specific result it can really help create a more positive situation.
Result: We can promise a result but only when we are sure we can achieve it.
If you can’t do what the customer wants then explain this (avoid blaming other people, processes or inanimate objects!), show empathy with them and say what you can do.
Try to offer clients choices of solutions to their complaints wherever possible. This helps people to feel in control and not feeling pushed into a solution.
If you know a client is unhappy about something, try to mention it before they do. For example, “ I am sorry to have kept you waiting”- The client is likely to say, “no problem” (even if they were a bit fed up really). Avoid just pretending it didn’t happen!
If a client keeps going over the same issues over and over in a conversation or if the issue starts to grow and become more emotional, then show you empathise and try to refocus them on the main area of concern. For example, “I can see you are worried about this level of profit, can we go back to what you might do about this ………..”
If you want to talk to Sally on more top customer service tips to help your business make more money by treating customers better on an ongoing basis then please contact her via LinkedIn, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her on 07813 745495.
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