Complaint Handling- Conflict Resolution in Business
How to handle complaints
Complaint handling is a vital part of business and should be considered an art form. There are certain things and skills you may need to be able to handle the complaint and we will look at some in this article. Many of your customers may choose to go elsewhere if you don’t see the need for complaint handling.
From time to time we may get the odd complaint about our product or service. Normally when people complain they have a reason to do so. By acknowledging the issues and dealing with it immediately or as soon as possible you are demonstrating to the client your dedication to them and your will for them to do continued business.
Procedures can help your business follow the same rules throughout. This will help your business and the people within it as they will be empowered and skilled to handle the complaint. You need to discuss with your staff the best plan of action and also how you would like the complaints to be handled.
An apology to start with can be helpful to diffuse the situation. Some clients want to hear the human element within a business and a simple apology may help them feel that you understand and acknowledge the issues. This also helps prevent the situation from becoming more vocal and escalate into something you are unable to handle.
Take time to listen to you client and hear them out. Too many people interject or get defensive and it doesn’t help the situation. Take notes from the client too and demonstrate that you are going to take action or you understand. By caring about the concern or issue we ultimately are showing concern to the client.
If you can show empathy you will show the client you care. Do not sympathise. By showing them you understand the issue and clarifying the information throughout you can build rapport with the individual. Rapport is all about similarities and if you show that you understand and you agree with what you can, the client will like you more.
When you have all the information of the complaint you then need to decide which course of action you will take. Do not promise anything unless you can deliver it. Over promising and under delivering is a big reason for bad customer service. Listen to the client’s emotion and see if there are any issues deeper than the information. A lot of clients do not want a solution but someone to listen. See if this is the case.
A client will want to see you take responsibility to the issue. Try not to delegate the blame to someone else or be negative about another business. Never has negativity created something positive. Try to stay above all the excuses and take full responsibility for the issues. Your ultimate goal is to do continued business with the client. A win now may mean you win the fight but you lose the War.
If compensation is needed work with the client to find out how much is appropriate. Do not undervalue the situation but by asking the client what they would like you find out the right figure or solution. The best thing to do when you don’t know what to do is ask the client what they would like or want. This may help you with solutions.
If you follow up on the information or solution this indicates to the client you are really concerned and it was just not a reaction to their complaint. Follow up letters are great to demonstrate that you are really concerned, plus if the solution didn’t fit or they are still unhappy this gives you the ability to re-evaluate the situation.
If you monitor your complaints or survey your customers you will find out if they are happy with your services. The happy customer is one that will continue buying off you for years to come. Repeat business also is the easiest and best business.