Staying on top of complaints

8th Jan 2016

A new Los Angeles-based start-up called ‘Service’ claims to save customers the frustration of negotiating settlements with organisations by dealing with customers’ complaints for them. It follows a number of failed technology start-ups that have attempted to pinpoint poor customer service by giving customers a place to vent online. 

So how can customer-facing organisations encourage their customers to bypass this type of business, and go straight to them?    

The key is to make it as easy as possible for customers to come to you with their problems. You can have the best call centre in the world, but if a customer wants to contact you on social media, you need to provide a platform that allows them to do so. If customers can reach you on multiple channels, they are more likely to believe that you genuinely want to hear from them – and trust that you will take their complaint seriously.  

There will always be some customers, however, who prefer to suffer in silence. In this instance, you need to take bold action to change their perception of your complaint handling process. It might sound strange, but a great way to encourage trust is to proactively invite customers to complain. Customer surveys are a great way to assess levels of willingness to report problems, and can help you get to the crux of a problem without waiting for a customer to come to you first. Alternatively, pre-empt problems by encouraging service-level staff to ask customers about their experience with you. 

Once you have encouraged customers to come straight to you with their problems, make sure you then give them the confidence that you will resolve their complaint. Training and development will help increase levels of emotional intelligence among staff, allowing them to empathise with customers and identify the best course of action. 

For a copy of our complaint handling toolkit, click here. 

Improve your approach to complaint handling by attending one of our workshops.

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