There are some simple steps that if followed can ensure that complaints are resolved effectively.
- Express regret
- Listen attentively
- Collect the facts
- Offer to consider the customers suggestion and act
- Make sure the customer understands and agrees with your action
- Enquire to make sure the customer is happy
When welcoming complaints make the customer feel at ease and help them explain their complaint. If possible give them privacy, keep your body language open and never show impatience or annoyance. Assure the customer that you really want to help and you’re able to resolve their complaint. Thank the customer for bringing the complaint to your attention.
Apologise to the customer that they have felt the need to complain and keep your language positive especially when saying something negative. E.g. ‘I’d like to be able to help, however….’ rather than ‘ I’m afraid I can’t help…’In some cases the customer maybe wrong, but it’s always a good idea to express regret for any misunderstanding or miscommunication.
Show the customer you are taking their complaint seriously by actively demonstrating you are listening. In face to face situations, use body language to show you are listening by nodding, making eye contact, being empathetic and looking interested.When speaking with a customer on the telephone, show you are listening. e.g. by saying ‘yes’, I understand’. Use the customer’s name to show you are interested in them and their complaint.
Collect the Facts
It’s always a good idea to make clear notes. Not only does this demonstrate to the customer you are listening but it’s also good to have the notes to refer back to. Ask questions until you fully understand the complaint and then show the customer you understand their problem by rephrasing the complaint back to them in your own words.
Offer to consider the customer’s suggestion and act
Try to involve the customer in finding a solution to their complaint. Ask them what they would like you to do, e.g. ‘How can I put this right?’ or ‘I want to help, is there anything in particular you’d like me to do?’Once you’ve decided what action to take, follow it through and act right away. Make sure you know the organisation’s service standards for resolving complaints and follow them.
Make sure the customer understands and agrees with your action
Make it clear to the customer what positive action you are going to take to help them and ensure they are the actions you are going to take.
Enquire to make sure the customer is happy
Check at every stage that the customer understands what’s happening and is happy about it.Once a complaint has been resolved it is a good idea to make a call to the customer to ensure they are entirely happy with the way their complaint was handled and resolved. This provides a good opportunity to influence your customers’ perception and strengthen the relationship by showing you really care.