Dealing with Complaints and Problems
It is inevitable that sometime in your career dealing with customers you will have a customer who has a complaint. When this happens, you need to be prepared to handle the complaint without alienating the customer.
The problem resolution process is no different in customer service than it is anywhere else in the business. No matter how perfect your processes are, there will be problems. The key with customer service and problem resolution
is to create a process that will be so painless for customers that they will not be afraid to come to you with future problems.
Things to consider when creating a problem resolution process for dealing with customers' complaints include:
Speed. The process should convey to the customer that you feel his or her problem is urgent and you will work to resolve it quickly and efficiently.
The customer is right. Make the assumption, at least to start the discussion, that the customer is actually right. Conduct your initial investigation with the idea in mind that the customer's complaint is valid.
The customer is wrong. If you discover a customer is wrong, remember that we all make mistakes. Do not blame the customer, but use the experience to teach him or her something, if appropriate. Focus on resolving the problem, not on the cause of it.
Take ownership of the problem. Even if you are not the one who will eventually resolve the problem, you are the first contact the customer has and you need to take ownership of the problem, moving it along to the right person, and then following up to make sure it is taken care of.
Follow up. After the problem has been resolved, take the extra step and call the customer to check and see if everything is still OK. Find out if the customer needs further assistance and inform the right people if more help is needed.
Continue to serve. The next time the customer comes in, make sure everyone is aware of the history and acts accordingly, continuing to provide excellent customer service.
Customers will remember how they are treated when they present a problem to a company. If the company representatives act responsibly and treat customers fairly and with respect, no matter what the outcome of the process is, customers will respect and appreciate that, remaining loyal to the company.