Cultivating Customer Complaints
Most business owners view the handling of customer complaints – regardless of the size or degree of urgency involved – as a daunting task. In fact, most owners can stress for days about how to deal with one bad complaint. Though receiving customer complaints is not the most encouraging of circumstances, addressing them can actually lead to stronger customer relationships and increased loyalty.
If handled correctly and carefully, the behavior in which you handle the complaint – as well as the customer – can have a valuable impact on your business. The benefit is made when you, as the owner, not only address the issue at hand, but own up to the customer’s disappointment. Regardless of whether the customer is wrong or right, the dissatisfaction is there. To fix this, two things must be done.
- Own up to the Problem. Even if it wasn’t the business’s fault, the customer is generally always right. The only way to even begin to restore the relationship is to accept the blame, even if it unjustly administrated. You must always be the bigger person when your business’s reputation is at stake.
- Make Amenities. In most cases, you will need to take the extra step to show the customer that he or she matters. Refunds, free products, or gift cards are usually adequate options. Though the complaint may or may not be warranted, the person is paying customer. The cost of making it right with the customer is far cheaper than the untamable, bad word-of-mouth advertising that would likely be the alternative.
The overall goal is for the customer to know that your business cared enough to recognize their complaint. Customers don’t normally like to create a fuss; they just want the issue to be addressed and resolved. If genuinely handled, the customers will not only appreciate the effort, but their trust will be renewed and even strengthened, knowing that you are a true provider even in the worst of circumstances. Not only will they continue on as loyal consumers, but they will no doubt be surprised by your efforts and share the experience with their close friends and family. They will – in actuality – become tried-and-true advocates for your company and services.