It might be extremely difficult to do, you must stay calm when handling a customer complaint. This can be hard, especially since your business is probably a point of immense pride for you. But don’t take the complaint personally; it’s not a personal attack. Often, a customer complaint will highlight an area that you can improve upon within your business.
Not only that, but getting upset, losing your cool, or yelling at a customer is never a good thing. You are more likely to make good progress and satisfy your customer’s needs if you approach the problem with a calm state of mind.
Frequently, if a customer comes to you with a problem, it means that they want to be heard. Even if the complaint seems trivial to you, it clearly has some significance to them because they are taking their time to reach out to you.
Sometimes people indeed complain just because they are having a bad day, but keep in mind that we all have bad days and you never know what is going on in that person’s life.
Active listening techniques can, and should, be used with your customers all the time. Don’t assume that you know what the customer wants or needs, and don’t dismiss them as trivial either. Hear them out and pay close attention to what they’re saying.
In most instances, you can diffuse anger and frustration by remaining kind and understanding. You can tell your customer straight away that you appreciate them reaching out about their concerns and that you want to understand exactly how they are feeling. A statement such as this from the get-go lets your customer know that you truly care and that you are ready to listen. When a customer knows that you truly care, you are well on your way to finding a reasonable resolution to the customer complaint.
Acknowledge the Issue
After you’ve heard them out, acknowledge the problem and repeat it back to the customer. Paraphrasing what your customer has said and repeating it back to them lets them know that you listened and that you understand what the problem is.
Acknowledging the problem does not mean that you agree with what the customer has to say, it just means that you understand them and respect where they are coming from. You can say things like, “I understand this must be very frustrating for you,” or, “If I understand you correctly…” then follow up with the paraphrased rendition of the complaint.
Apologize and Thank Them
It may feel difficult, but swallowing your pride and apologizing for your customer’s poor experience will put you miles ahead of the game. As with acknowledgment, apologizing does not mean that you agree with the customer, nor are you taking the blame.
It may seem counterintuitive, but thanking your customer for reaching out with their issue will also show that you’re always trying to improve your business. It demonstrates that you understand where they are coming from and that you are ready to resolve the problem for them.