Thursday, May 28, 2015

What to do when a Customer Complains

We have all heard the mantra, "the customer is always right".  While this sentiment comes from a good place and encourages a positive attitude towards customers, it is quite simply, not always true. In fact, it can actually reward customers for their demanding and rude behavior. 

Encountering a rude customer, or a customer who wants something you cannot give them, is not an uncommon occurrence for business owners. It's important to develop a strategy when faced with these types of situations. It can mean the difference between a customer feeling satisfied or promising to never do business with you again.

  • Stay calm. No matter how angry or rude the customer is you never want to react similarly, as it could escalate things and make matters worse.  
  • Be a good listener. Try not to interrupt the customer until they are finished, as this will likely make them more frustrated.
  • Show the customer you were listening by summarizing their words back to them. Then ask questions to further clarify their complaint.  
  • Apologize. Regardless of who is at fault, a simple "We're sorry you've had such a frustrating experience" can go a long way.
  • Tell the customer what you can do. You may not be able to give the customer exactly what they want, but by offering an alternative suggestion you are showing the customer you would still like to do what you can to make things right.  
  • Know when to walk away. Sometimes there is no way to satisfy an angry customer.  If this is the case, all you can do is offer an apology and step away from the conversation.
Something else to consider: living by "the customer is always right" mantra can also be bad for your employees and the general company moral. Your employees come to work each day and help make your product what it is. Make sure your company policies support the employees responsible for handling customer grievances. They should feel respected and empowered.

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