At some point, in the not too distant future, your business will receive a customer complaint. It’s inevitable, regardless of how well run your small business is. It might be your fault, or it might be due to a misunderstanding. Whichever it is, it’s important to resolve it in a satisfactory manner or you risk losing their business.
Ernst & Young estimated that businesses in Australia lose more than $40 billion worth of potential spending every year due to poor customer experience.
So, what are the 3 most common complaints – and, more importantly, how do you handle them?
The customer has to wait.
Nobody likes to wait whether that’s for someone to call back, a product to arrive, or they’re simply stuck in a line.
Acknowledge the issue (without passing blame). Thank them for their patience and let them know you’re working hard on fixing it. Don’t pass the case on to someone else as that will only compound their frustration.
Defective product or service.
If your product is faulty, the customer will complain.
While you can’t change the impression made by the product, you can change the impression made of your business. Once you’ve got the facts, make sure your response is apologetic, empathetic, and offers an immediate solution (replacement or refund).
Customer error in using the product.
The customer thinks the product is broken, but actually it’s down to user error.
In this situation, try and educate the customer. Find out what their goals/needs are and teach them how to use the product to meet these. If they are still having issues, or change their mind – let them replace the product for one more suited to their needs.
While some of these customer complaints will come in-person, they are as likely to arrive by email or social media. It’s a good idea to have well-written template letters on file for these instances. This helps ensures that your response is always well-thought-out with the appropriate tone.