Customer service is a key component to operating any business, large or small. A business cannot turn a profit from its goods and services if it has poor customer service, because word of mouth is powerful and there will be no repeat customers to frequent the location. It is possible, using the Internet (which is today’s version of word of mouth!), to change and improve the way that your business conducts itself when interacting with customers.
Listen to your customers
It may be tempting to defend your business in the middle of a complaint, but allow the customer to explain the situation in full before you decide to intervene. Ask questions. Customers generally feel better when they have the opportunity to vent their frustrations and have someone truly listen. After they are done explaining the situation, then you can proceed to fix what is wrong.
Remain objective when responding to the complaint
It may be hard not to take a complaint personally, but keep in mind that the customer is angry at the situation and not necessarily at you, even if you are the one responsible for remedying it. If you need to place blame on something, do so towards an inanimate object or policy instead of the business itself or an employee.
Keep things personal and ditch the excess formalities
Customers don’t want to deal with a script when they’re complaining about a policy. If you treat a customer as another number in a sea of complaints, they are going to recognize it and won’t be content with any solution that you offer to resolve the issue. You may also need to be willing to occasionally bend the rules on an established policy to keep the customer happy. It is worth it to bend the rules on occasion to prevent negative reviews.
Be proactive with finding unhappy customers
With the popularity of online and social media it is simple for anyone to go online and write a complaint about bad service they have received from a business. These consumer complaints websites see plenty of traffic on a daily basis, and they have the potential to give your business a positive or a negative reputation. Many consumers check these sites before they even engage with a business. Which means that you, as a representative of the business, should check these sites for complaints regularly. If you see an issue that is relevant to your business, reach out to the customer to figure out a resolution for the issue; normally the customer will then amend the complaint to include the resolution. Customers like when businesses are proactive.
Offer multiple ways for a customer to contact you
Even if you read the original complaint on a consumer complaints website, a customer may prefer to speak about the matter on the phone. Give options to resolve the issue through email or the phone to best satisfy the customer.
Keeping customer service as a priority for your business will ensure that you get repeat customers. You will also avoid negative press and review, which will ultimately keep your business competitive in the current economy.