Coping with Customer Complaints

Providing excellent customer service can be very rewarding, not only for the customer but also for the service representative who provides it. It’s the human touch that allows us to build relationships with our customers, and it’s these very relationships that can be jeopardized if we aren’t fully aware of and try to meet our customers’ needs.

In  a perfect world, the phone rings, you answer with a smile on your face, and the person on the other end greets you as if you’re old friends. You’re able to help the customer meet all of their needs and when you hang up you feel cheerful and ready for the next call. While that is an optimistic goal, let’s be honest. It doesn’t happen that way all the time. Many times you pick up the phone with that smile on your face only to have it turn into a frown as the person on the other end expresses their displeasure at someone or something  you have no control over. It’s difficult to get a word in edgewise and the entire time you’re thinking, “This isn’t my fault.” While the customer may understand that it isn’t your fault, they are reacting to the fact that their needs aren’t being met.

Whether they speak softly and choose their words carefully, or fly off the handle and yell, you shouldn’t be expected to take anyone’s abuse. It’s important to stay calm and listen well. By staying calm and remembering not to take anything personally, you’ll keep a cool head and be able to think more clearly. Once the customer has explained the problem, acknowledge their frustration. It may be appropriate for you to apologize for their inconvenience, allowing them to realize that you’re on their side and want to help. By validating their concern, you’ll be on your way to coming up with a solution that best suits the customer. Make sure to get all of the facts regarding the problem and then offer a solution. Once this process has come full circle and the issue has been resolved, it’s always nice to follow-up a few days later. It builds trust and shows the customer that their business is valued.

You won’t always make all of your customers happy. When you have a less than positive experience, take time to recoup from the phone call. It may help to take a walk, get a cup of coffee, or talk to a co-worker or supervisor. Make sure you’re feeling ready to put that smile back on your face before you take another call.

Here are some articles that are worth reading when it comes to dealing with complaints from your customers:

How to Handle Customer Complaints
Golden Rules of Complaints Handling
15 Tips for Successfully Handling Customer Complaints

Do you have any tips to share on how you deal with customer complaints?

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