Between social media, and face to face or voice to voice word of mouth, a disgruntled client that has an unresolved complaint can create bad PR and literally end up costing your company thousands if not millions of dollars in future business from that client or other potential buyers.
On the other hand, when you stop to think how much it costs to acquire a customer or client, it is critical that your employees are well trained on how to handle and successfully resolve the complaints they receive.
Let’s take a look at my proven formula you and your employees can use to effectively deal with customer and client complaints. I call it, the 3 R’s to Handling Client Complaints™
Remember, every organization receives complaints. The key is turning a complaint into win-win situation. Too often employees and managers take the client or customer’s complaint personally and get defensive. It would be better if they took the complaint professionally and look at the complaint as an opportunity to fix what went wrong and if possible, keep the customer. The second reason is to take an action that would prevent that sort of problem from reoccurring in the future with other customers or clients.
The first R in my formula stands for the word RESPECT. It is critical that you or your employee show respect to the customer. You can do this by listening and letting the customer vent their feelings and frustration. The longer you are able to listen, the better. Sincerely, use cushion statements to ease the frustration level of the customer. A cushion statement is anything you say or do that shows the customer you empathize with their concern. Some examples would be: “You are right to feel concerned” or “That must be frustrating” or “I can appreciate your concern.” Then let them vent.
The next R stands for the word RAPPORT. You can develop rapport with the person by sincerely apologizing for any trouble that happened to the person who experienced the problem. One way you could say this is: “Mr. Jones, I want apologize for any trouble this has caused you”. Then thank them for bringing this concern to your attention.
The third R stands for RESOLVE. Here is where you resolve the situation to the best of your ability. One question you could ask is: “What action would you like us to take?” Many times the complaining person’s idea of a resolution is much less than you would think. The key here is to take action and if possible, resolve the problem.
By following this three step process you will be able to use your customer’s complaints to strengthen and grow your business. One of my most popular workshops for my clients concerns the topic of handling customer complaints. For more information on how I can customize a workshop on this topic for your business or organization please contact our office.
By Tom Borg ©All rights reserved