Customer complaints are inevitable. As technology continues to become a part of our everyday lives, it doesn’t take long for a dissatisfied customer to publically air their complaints about poor service on social media, and internet sites like Yelp, Angie’s List and Google. A satisfied customer may share their good experience with three friends, whereas an angry customer has the potential to tell 3,000 friends in social networks and communities. Not to mention that 95% of customers will share bad experiences.
A poor review or complaint on one of these sites could deter potential customers and prevent existing customers from returning. Taking a step back and trying to see the situation from the customers’ perspective can help to understand why customers complain and how you can prevent complaints from happening in the future.
Mark Bradley of Customer Service Network says the most common causes for customer complaints are “financial loss, operational and emotional reasons.”
Let’s examine some of the operational and emotional issues within your business that could potentially give your customers cause for complain.
“YOU DIDN’T DO WHAT YOU PROMISED.”
When did you last review your advertising material or website? Are you promising something that you can’t deliver? For example, did you set the customer expectations before completing the repair?
“IT TAKES A LONG TIME BEFORE SOMEONE ANSWERS THE PHONE. OR IT ALWAYS GOES TO VOICEMAIL.”
Think of the last time you tried to reach a business and the phone just rang and rang and rang. Besides being annoying it doesn’t create a positive image in the customers head. While it can be challenging as a small business owner to always answer the phone after two rings if you’re doing a repair or talking with another customer, make sure that your voicemail is set up properly and you return calls in a timely manner.
NOT WILLING TO ADMIT A MISTAKE.
If you’re in the wrong, get you or your staff to own up and say, “Yes, we were wrong”, it can take away the emotion which sometimes blocks successful resolution of complaints.
NOT WILLING TO SEEK A SOLUTION.
It takes more than to just acknowledge a customers’ problem but also to be willing to seek a solution. Instead of “I can’t help. It’s company policy” or “Yes, but…” Try exceeding their expectations whether by providing a discount on their next purchase or offering additional services. The goal is to have the customer leaving feeling good about the experience.
The art of complaint handling is not only resolving it to the customer’s satisfaction; it’s also about taking action on what you find out and being proactive in finding potential problems before they become problems.