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How to deal with customer complaints

    How to deal with customer complaints

    Every business has to deal with situations in which things go wrong from a customer’s point of view.

    However you respond if this happens, don’t be dismissive of your customer’s problem – even if you’re convinced you’re not at fault. Although it might seem contradictory, a customer with a complaint represents a genuine opportunity for your business:

    if you handle the complaint successfully, your customer is likely to prove more loyal than if nothing had gone wrong
    people willing to complain are rare – your complaining customer may be alerting you to a problem experienced by many others who silently took their custom elsewhere
    You should also be aware of your legal duties when handling customer complaints.

    How to handle complaints
    Complaints should be handled courteously, sympathetically and swiftly. Make sure that your business has an established procedure for dealing with customer complaints and that it is known to all your employees. At the very least it should involve:

    listening sympathetically to establish the details of the complaint
    recording the details together with relevant material, such as a sales receipt or damaged goods
    offering rectification – whether by repair, replacement or refund
    appropriate follow-up action, such as a letter of apology or a phone call to make sure that the problem has been made good
    If you’re proud of the way you rectify problems – by offering no-questions refunds, for example – make sure your customers know about it. Your method of dealing with customer problems is one more way to stay ahead of your competitors.

    When a customer complains online
    Increasingly, customers may choose to voice complaints on social media platforms such a Twitter or Facebook. These complaints and you handle them have an even bigger impact on your reputation as they take place in public. The best approach is to respond quickly and publically acknowledge the complaint, then continue the conversation by private message, email or phone call.


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