Handling Customer Complaints

Handling Customer Complaints

Paul De’ Man sent me an email asking me how to handle customer complaints. Great question Paul!

Business’s spend a great amount of time and money to get customers, here are some stat’s you probably don’t know:

  • On average, twenty six unhappy customers won’t complain for everyone that will
  • Each of these twenty seven customers will tell an average of sixteen other people about their bad experience
  • This means that every complaint you hear represents 432 negative impressions. That’s 1296 unhappy
    potential customers for every three complaints.
  • It costs 5 times as much to attract a new customer as to keep a current one
  • 91% of your unhappy customers will never come back to your business again
  • If you ask for complaints no matter how small and remedy them you will be able to keep 82% of those customers.

Handling a Generic Complaint

  • Rapport: Build positive rapport with a smile and positive body language.
  • Use a real smile. A real smile is equal on both sides of the face and involves eye wrinkles.
  • Lean in when you listen
  • Mirroring: Copy their body posture and tone of voice
  • Offer a drink

How to Listen

  • Say nothing and do nothing other than listen
  • Don’t shuffle paperwork of any kind, or disagree or comment.
  • Most irate people just want to get the problem off their chest.
  • Don’t interrupt them. They will eventually run out of steam. If you do interrupt them you risk overheating them further!

Agree with What they Say

  • Don’t use the word but! The word but is a sign of disagreement
  • Make them well aware that you heard them and agree with their position.
  • Never act defensive of yourself or the company here. Just agree!


Paraphrase, Relate and Resolve

  • Repeat back the situation so that they know they have been heard.
  • Let them know you relate.
  • “If I was you, I would be just as upset.”
  • Resolve the issue by saying, “What would you like me to do, to solve this problem?”

Specific Example (Customer Objects to a Fee)

  • Customer is assessed a fee because of a late payment
  • If in person disarm them by offering them a drink.
  • Relate: Give them a positive second hand affirmation on how they are a good and reasonable person that just wants to be treated in a fair way.
  • Get them to agree to hear you out by saying, “I know I don’t like it when someone won’t hear me out in a situation wouldn’t you agree?”
  • Inform them that you will listen by saying, “We’ll I want to make sure I understand what happened so we don’t upset good customers like you in the future. Please fill me in on the situation?”
  • Make them very well aware that you are going to solve the problem right here and now!
  • If you don’t relay to the customer that everything will work out fine they will not listen to your solution.
  • Make the person well aware that you will do all that you can do to make the person happy, but you don’t have all of the power.
  • Make them aware that your job specifically is to act as the mediator between the customer and the company.
  • Make them aware that you are acting in their best interest
  • If the person is locked into a position of refusal, change their body position.
  • Figure out a reason for them to stand up and move around.
  • Numerous studies concur that there is no easier way to snap anyone out of a mode, then to get them to move their body.
  • Look for opportunities to state that based on what they have said, they have changed your mind in regards to anything.
  • This will make them more inclined to change their mind for you.
  • You will never convince someone to agree with you without giving them very relevant reasons to do so
  • Explain to them that the new resolution is indeed based off of their own ideas

General Customer Service Tip’s

  • Give examples of how you are similar to the person.
  • If the customer is irate, visualize them as “A Hurt Child”
  • Solve the problem during the first call! Don’t push them on to someone else.

Always Act Positive

  • Use positive words in your speech and smile whether in person or on the phone
  • No problem is so complicated that it can’t be solved
  • All most all customer problems are created through misunderstandings
  • Ask the customers for input on how to make the situation right.

Have Customers Solve the Problem

  • Remind the customer that the solution is based off of their specific ideas and requests
  • Ask about satisfactory solutions to problems they have had in the past
  • You don’t always have all of the answers so, ask for their input.
  • People don’t care about what you know until, you prove you care

What to do with Irate Customers

  • Studies have found that an irate person will normally calm down when they are made more self aware of how they look
  • When we see ourselves in a reflection we are more easily persuaded
  • Have the conversation near a mirrored wall.

Stop Customer Complaints Before they Happen

  • Ask every customer “What is your number 1 complaint?”
  • Ask every customer “How can we do a better job”
  • Follow up after a customer complaint is handled

To Guarantee Customer Satisfaction Business’s Must

  • Empower your employees to solve the complaint on the first call
  • Write down and save the complaint and then follow up on the customers satisfaction
  • Welcome complaints
  • Provide customer information to all employees
  • Provide online tools for 24 hour service

That’s All Folk’s

I hope that will resolve all of your customer complaint issues? If you have any question’s or would like me to research a question you have leave the question in the comment section below.

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