Give Your Staff Autonomy
Staff training is key to handling customer complaints, not every situation needs to be handled by you personally. Identify the parameters and scope of the complaints that they can deal with on their own, and how they can provide solutions. You also want to have a way to document these interactions so that you know they have occurred and how they were handled. A report of the incidents will also keep your team accountable, to ensure no one abuses the responsibility.
Allowing your staff members to handle the complaint in a polite and professional manner gives them autonomy and a sense of personal responsibility for their role.
Your staff’s sense of agency is important in handling unhappy customers. When your staff feel like they can make a difference, they’re more likely to go the extra mile for a customer, in anticipation of avoiding a complaint. This includes handling complaints in a way that resolves the issue and makes the customer, and you, happy. In order to give your staff the best chance at succeeding, train them on how to handle complaints and emphasize the importance of customer satisfaction.
Pro Tip: In addition to learning the effective ways to deal with complaints shown above, one great tool to help train your team is role-playing. By rehearsing potential complaints and objections ahead of time, you can prepare before real-life negative interactions occur. It helps them have the right words in their head before a customer confronts them and gives them confidence to deal with the situation when it arises.
Bottom line, your staff should be familiar with your company’s policies and procedures for handling complaints, as well as your limitations of what they can handle personally. They should be able to handle difficult situations calmly and politely. Training your staff to deal with customer complaints will help ensure that all customers are treated fairly and that any complaints are handled quickly and professionally so that you do not always have to be the one available to handle them
Use a Guarantee To Give You The Power
If a customer is unhappy, it’s in your best interest to make the customer happy. Almost always, you are going to provide the solution that makes them happy. By promoting a guarantee, you can get added mileage from something you are going to do anyway. An iron-clad guarantee can then be used as a strong marketing selling point.
As long as you are providing a good quality product, the amount of people that will take advantage of you is very small compared to the benefits of using it in your marketing. Something like this….
We’re so convinced that once you try XYZ Business it will become your favorite, too. So that’s why we guarantee all our X and Y and service. If you aren’t completely satisfied, we’ll replace your order or it’s on the house! Your choice. No questions asked, no hassles!
This assumes, of course, that you provide a fantastic product or service and great customer service. If your complaints are few and far between, then offering a guarantee goes a long way to adding credibility and shows you’re confident in your business efforts.
Secret Marketing Tip: One of the best marketing campaigns that I have ever run was when I owned my pizzeria. I invested in a billboard sign that read- “Best Pizza In 50 Miles Or It’s FREE.” Gutsy…Yep. People knew me as the “50 Mile Pizza Guy.” Worked like crazy. And you know how many Free pizzas I gave away in one year? Two. Not a bad payoff.
Two things to remember about a guarantee- you have to have a good product and test it small first.
Remember Negative Feedback Isn’t Always Bad
Handling customer complaints is an important part of any business, and it can be difficult to prevent every unhappy customer from going online to post a negative review. Fortunately, when you are given the opportunity to offer a solution before they go online, you have a chance to make things right for them.
When you put some strategies in place to manage expectations and you and your team are prepared when the inevitable unhappy customer is in front of you, you can turn that unhappy customer in a long term loyal one. Remember… ANSWER YOUR REVIEWS! Your customers just want to be heard.