Customer Loyalty: Handling Complaints

At the root of it all, a complaint is a gift. Why? Because it’s feedback. We don’t often receive feedback, and more often than not, companies rely on the outdated and faulty customer satisfaction survey.

Be sure to read my post on the 3 company values that lead to emotional connections with your customers. You will need to be sure you have these values firmly in place in your business and you discuss how your business is managing these values on a regular basis (like at monthly employee meetings).

If you are tempted to either (a) hide from the customer so you don’t have to deal with their issue or (b) treat the customer like a grump who doesn’t know anything, here are some tidbits based on research that demonstrate how your management of complaints impacts not only your repeat sales, but also your chances for referral business.

  • If a customer has a minor problem and it is handled quickly, 95% will repurchase
    from your business; 82% will purchase again even if it is a major problem that has been resolved.
  • If the problem is not resolved and the problem was a major one, only 14% will
    repurchase.

A complaint is a gift and an opportunity to show the customer how
good your organization really is. It also provides important information on how
you can get better by changing a process or improving a procedure to prevent a
repeat occurrence with this customer or any others!

Keeping track of complaints therefore becomes a very important function within your company’s internal processes. You need to have your complaint management system in place now, before you have a complaint and if you are in the middle of managing a complaint. The steps you follow are these:

  • Thank the customer for bringing this to your attention
  • Offer an apology
  • THEN find out the cause of your customer’s issue

The thank you and the apology create a huge emotional shift in your customer’s
mind. It shows a great deal of empathy and sends a strong message that the most
important consideration is how the customer feels rather than who did what to
create the problem. If your customer feels someone at your company cares about them, they are less likely to blame your company for problems.

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