Customers will complain, it’s a part of business. Although it can be a tricky issue to deal with, it’s an excellent opportunity to demonstrate great customer service. This is where your company core values are useful: they will determine how you respond.
First of all, is your customer really wrong? Before getting into how to explain to a customer that they’re wrong, ask yourself, “Is the customer wrong to begin with?” To be able to answer this question effectively, you need to train yourself to be completely objective when dealing with customer feedback.
Here are some steps that I apply to my businesses and recommend to my e-commerce consulting clients:
1. Never dismiss a complaint immediately
As tempting as it can be to simply dismiss the customer’s complaint as soon as they raise it, this will only ensure that the customer becomes more irate. Complaints come about when customers are unhappy with a certain product or service.
"If they’ve taken the time to contact you to raise their concerns, the issue is likely have caused them to feel angry, upset or annoyed – the last thing they want, is to feel they aren’t being listened to." Matt Edmundson
2. Treat all complaints equally
You should always treat all complaints in exactly the same way – listen to the customer, record their complaint in full and go through exactly the same process you would with any other complaint. If you’re able to provide a response outright (by following steps three and four), that’s fantastic. However, if you are unsure, further investigation is always the way forward, no matter how ludicrous you believe the complaint to be.
3. Give an explanation
The importance of customer communication continues to grow. The further development of internet technologies means people want to feel the companies they’re spending their money with are both listening to and understand their views.When it comes to responding to customer complaints and providing suitable explanations, quality always prevails over quantity. You may be able to work through more customer complaints if you respond with a short, stock reply, but you’re likely to see more repeat custom, and less negative impact on brand reputation, if you take the time to provide full, personal, tailored, in-depth explanations.
4. Offer an alternative
Just because a customer’s complaint is incorrect and can’t be justified, it doesn’t mean they should be treated any differently from a customer with a genuine complaint. If you can, offer the customer an alternative or provide them with a solution to the problem they believe they have. Again, it may mean a matter of quality over quantity, but the benefits could be considerable.
5. Analyse the source of the complaint
You should not only record and respond to all complaints, but report on them regularly. If you’re receiving regular complaints from customers where the customer is wrong, it would beneficial to understand what is causing confusion and if anything can be implemented to reduce this.
6. It’s okay to ‘sack’ the customer, providing it is handled tactfully
Do you have a clearly defined approach to customer feedback in your business? Sometimes complaints can be very beneficial to a business in terms of ironing out processes and making products or services more user friendly.