Maybe your customer has a service-based complaint; maybe the customer isn’t happy with the person handling his or her account or the time it took for you to deliver service. Maybe your customer is upset due to no real fault of your own; maybe you’re a reseller of a product or piece of technology that turned out to be faulty or full of bugs that you couldn’t have anticipated. No matter what caused your customer to be dissatisfied, there are three things you should always do when a customer makes a complaint or voices a concern.
1. Respond quickly.
Your business’s reputation is everything. The worst thing you can do when a customer makes a complaint is to do nothing. If you were in the wrong, act swiftly and cop to your mistake. Apologize. Then, provide an alternative solution or peace offering of some kind (such as a discount, an added-value item, or an invitation to have a face-to-face meeting or lunch). Whether the complaint is made to you directly or through social media or some other medium, it is important to take action and address the issue quickly so as not to appear uncaring or unwilling—or worse, unable—to meet the customer’s needs. Keep in mind that you should never have the knee-jerk reaction to resolve a complaint with a freebie; the best way to resolve a complaint is always going to be to provide an actual solution.
2. Track complaints.
It can feel very uncomfortable for you and the rest of your team to log complaints. Most people naturally feel that a complaint reflects poorly on them, and have an understandable tendency to refrain from sharing customer complaints or issues with colleagues. However, logging issues and analyzing them transparently within your organization is a great way to assess where you need to make improvements. It is the first step towards creating solutions that will prevent future complaints. You can use your CRM to track complaints, but depending on the size and scope of your B2B business and how the majority of the complaints you receive are made (by telephone, in person, online, etc.), you may find it more advantageous to implement tracking or auditing software.
3. Provide rewards for successful complaint handling.
If your employees know that they will be rewarded for successfully handling a complaint or saving an account, they will be more likely to take complaint response training seriously. By implementing a rewards program, you will make your team more apt to accurately report complaints and better enforce the complaint response training techniques that you are (or should be) training them to use.
It’s never fun to listen to customer complaints, but if you empower you and your team to use complaints to improve your organization and the success of individual team members, you can turn customer complaints, issues and even uncomfortable questions into powerful tools for growth and change.