The Right Way to Handle Complaints
A preorder slips through the cracks. An offensive comment slips by unnoticed. From up-and-comers to the upper crust, even great stores can be hosts to bad experiences.
But if handled right, your ability to recover from bad experiences can be another thing your customers love about you. How?
Follow these five steps to make your service shine even when it comes up short:
You can't eliminate 100% of bad experiences, so how can you make the best of the ones that happen?
Step one is admitting they happened at all. Just offer a sincere apology to any customer complaint.
Avoid excuses, skip the backstory, and keep your temper in check.
No matter how right you might have been, it's better business when your customers feel they are always in the right.
Make it easy
Apologies accomplish the most when they're backed with a quick solution that requires as little effort from the customer as possible.
Even if you didn't cause the problem, it's your problem to solve. Take the onus off the customer, offer a fix, and deliver it without hoops or hassles.
Empower your staff
The Corporate Executive Board found that customers become drastically less loyal when they're passed up the chain.
Train your staff to help first and ask questions later; let them act on their best judgment to meet the customer's needs.
Nurture a continued relationship
And what comes next, after those needs are met?
Look for a "sticky" solution, one that incentivizes the customer to return. Even something as simple as a quick follow-up apology online or on their next visit can make a difference.
The last step in defusing a difficult situation is diffusing the next one before it happens.
Talk to your staff about the incident, how it happened, and how you can keep it from happening again. Don't focus on who's to blame for the mistake—focus on what you can learn from it.