Retailers know that customer dissatisfaction is a reality that can’t be cured and will never go away. Every retailer, at times, fails to meet the needs of its customers. Many companies and most retail managers cringe when they hear, “I have a complaint.” But great retailers have learned to embrace the challenge of customer complaints and know the value of going the extra mile to “convert” a complaining customer into a loyal and satisfied shopper.
Here are 5 steps to remember and use when handling customer complaints.
- If a customer takes the time to complain, they are doing the company a favor. They have the choice of just not coming back, and by giving a company the opportunity to hear and take steps to remedy their complaint, they are offering you the chance to retain their business and more importantly, the opportunity to turn them into a satisfied customer or even a “raving and loyal” fan.
- Teach employees to tune in and listen. By tuning in and listening, the employee who is engaged with the customer can be the first to offer concern and an apology and can either act to remedy (if they are qualified and permitted) or bring the appropriate manager into play right away. Customers want to hear, “I’m sorry” more than anything else and they don’t like to be shuffled along to the next person. Solving the problem as quickly as possible with the fewest number of involved employees is job one.
- Own it – which in this case means not trying to explain why it happened or placing blame elsewhere. Let them know you are concerned and tell them you will quickly take action to remedy and prevent future occurrences. More customers become “raving fans” from a company owning an issue than from all other actions they take combined.
- Take action that is appropriate to the situation. Whether it is offering replacement product, coaching and retraining employees for improved service, cheerfully refunding a customer’s money, or whatever it takes to create “good will.” And remember – little actions go a long way.
- Follow through and do what you say you will do. Remember that you aren’t just remedying the complaint for one customer. When one customer takes the time to complain, there are likely more with the same issue who just didn’t speak up. Your goal is to prevent the issue from happening again which improves the overall shopping experience for every customer!
Follow these recommendations and “I have a complaint” will become music to your ears knowing that you and your team understand that how you handle customer complaints is the hallmark of what creates customer satisfaction as well as loyal and raving fans. Reaping the benefits of customer satisfaction helps good retailers become great retailers!