Quality products, excellent customer service, and positive customer experiences are crucial to keeping customers satisfied. However, perfection isn’t possible. As a business owner, you won’t always be able to accommodate your customers’ needs or meet their expectations. Everything from team member and supplier errors to inflation and cybercrimes can reduce your ability to provide quality products and services.
Although you should strive to put your best foot forward, entrepreneurs are encouraged to develop a plan to resolve customer complaints. Continue reading to learn more.
Identify Common Areas of Concern
How do you develop a plan to handle customer complaints? You start by understanding common concerns consumers have within your industry. Below are some of the most prevalent consumer complaints:
- Product availability
- Product condition (damaged or inoperable)
- Limited payment methods
- Long hold times
- Rude customer service reps
- Annoying automated bots
- Lack of follow-up
- Slow or minimal resolution
- Data security
Once you’re aware of the common areas of concern, you can look into practical solutions to reduce these from becoming issues within your organization.
Sourcing For Complaints
Not all customers will complain directly to the service provider. Some will share their experiences on social media, review sites, and forums or file reports with agencies like the Better Business Bureau. The longer a consumer concern goes unrecognized, the more damage it can have on your company’s reputation.
Businesses should regularly search various platforms for negative feedback, reviews, and complaints. A simple internet search using your company name and geographical location can provide multiple platforms to review harmful content.
Apply Transparency And Accountability
As you prepare to address customer complaints, ensure that you’re being open, honest, and accountable. Customers don’t want to hear excuses or feel you’re trying to pull the wool over their eyes. They’re human and understand that mistakes happen. As long as you’re willing to work with them to find an amicable solution, they’ll likely do business with you again (or, at the very least, stop throwing dirt on your company name).
Offer Multiple Options
There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for resolving customer disputes. Everyone has a different idea of what resolution means. The idea is to provide your customers with options so they can decide what works best for them. Some suggestions might include giving them a discount, issuing a refund, offering additional services (free of charge), or replacing the damaged item.
Follow-Through With Corrective Actions
More than giving your customer refunds, replacements, free services, or discounts, you should rebuild your credibility by following through with corrective actions. For instance, let’s say your customer data is breached because you utilized unsafe platforms to acquire, store, and use their information. Investing in a secure privacy platform and communicating this to your customers can ease their concerns and reduce future breaches.
Corrective actions show that you’re aware of the problem, accountable for your role, and committed to doing everything possible to prevent it from happening again.
Courtesy And Professionalism
Lastly, when handling customer complaints, you must remain professional and courteous. Although it may be frustrating to hear someone complain about your business, you can’t take it personally. The last thing you want is to upset the customer further and have them do more to damage your reputation. You must put yourself in your customers’ shoes and empathize with them. You should be kind, attentive, and accommodating when responding to a complaint by phone, chat, or email.
No business wants to receive a customer complaint, bad review, or negative feedback; however, it comes with the territory. All you can do is take the necessary precautions to reduce the risk of adverse outcomes and enhance customer service, experience, and satisfaction. Knowing how to handle a customer complaint can save you and your customers a lot of frustration if all else fails. Use the advice above to develop an efficient strategy to face complaints head-on and accommodate the needs of your target consumers.