Everyone will come into contact with a complaining customer. You should try to handle them with confidence and deal with them in a constructive way.
HANDLING CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS IN A CONSTRUCTIVE WAY:
- SHOW CONCERN: In the way you sit, stand or in facial expression show that you are concerned about their problem, or issue. Lean forward. Don't frown or scowl if you don't agree with their complaint.
- SIT THE CUSTOMER DOWN: Preferably without a barrier between you and them. Think about the height placement of chairs. You want to be on the same level as your customer. Sitting them down allows them to naturally relax. Moving them to a different location you choose subtly gives you control of the situation.
- LISTEN - REALLY LISTEN: Do not pre-judge what is being said or devote your mind to how you will reply, listen to what the customer is saying. You may not agree, but listen. You may pick up on something non verbally.
- TAKE NOTES: If the compliant is complicated in any way, take notes so you can respond accurately to the situation. This makes the customer fell as if they are being taken seriously and that you are really listening to their issue.
- ASK QUESTIONS: Open ended questions without any aggressive edge should be asked. This can gain more insight to the problem at hand. Keep in mind there are two sides to every story. Customers see the situation only from their perspective.
- OFFER ALTERNATIVES: You may not be able to give the customer what they want, but you can be positive by offering them a partial solution. Most times a customer will not want compensation just that you right the problem or are working toward some kind of resolution. Maybe all it means is that you implement a new process so the situation doesn't happen in the future.
- DON’T ARGUE OR GET ANGRY: You may win the argument, but you will lose the customer and any of his/her friends etc. If the customer is using negative language don’t agree with him and don’t use the same language. Stand your ground and listen to the underlying problem and stick to the facts of the situation. If a customer gets belligerent, you have the right to stop them and tell them that if they keep acting that way or using bad language the conversation is over and they can leave.
- AGREE ON WHAT YOU AGREED: When you complete discussion, go through the main points again and confirm your agreement on the situation so there is no misunderstanding on the customers part.
- FOLLOW-UP: After the dust has settled phone the customer back to check that they are satisfied with the solution.
REMEMBER: THE CUSTOMER HAS A RIGHT TO BE ANGRY BUT HE DOES NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE ABUSIVE TOWARDS YOU!
-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements