How to Handle Customer Complaints and Claims
Customer complaints are inevitable – no matter how well your business performs or how advanced its operations – and they must always be recognised and treated effectively. If you ignore or reject client complaints, you are only effectively informing them that you underestimate their opinions.
Many entrepreneurs consider complaint management a time-consuming and frustrating process, but customer complaints can actually be good for business, and by developing an efficient system, complaints can be resolved quickly and easily.
Here are a few ideas on how to handle customer complaints and claims effectively:
When a customer makes a complaint, remember that the problem is not personal. It does not attack you directly, but rather the current situation. The person who controls his emotions assumes a position of strength.
While defending against attacks is perfectly normal, you should choose to be professional and remain calm even when the customer is getting agitated or violent. Only when you are calm can you productively handle the complaint.
Understand the Details of the Complaint
Please listen to or read the complaint carefully to understand exactly what the problem is. The more information you get from a customer, the better you will understand their perspective. It is easier to ask questions than to draw conclusions. Therefore, if there is any part of the issue you don’t understand, don’t be reluctant to ask for clarification.
Once you have all the information, keep a record of all complaints in one place or in the register. This way you can identify trends or problems.
Suggest a Solution
Every problem has a solution, no matter how complicated. Therefore, always focus on what you can do, not what you cannot do.
It may not be exactly what they are asking for, but if you focus on what you can do instead of rejecting their right to make a complaint, you will prevent the issue from escalating and probably earn a loyal customer in the process.
Solve a Problem or Find Someone who can Solve it
There are a lot of reasons why customers complain, and when they do, they prefer the person they are talking to, to solve the problem immediately.
If complaints are moved up the chain, their processing will become more expensive, and customer frustration will only increase. So if you can solve the problem immediately, do so, and if you cannot, find someone who can do so immediately and try as much as possible not to refer the problem upwards.
Your Statutory Obligation to pay Compensation
In some cases, offering compensation to clients is a legal obligation. For example, if your product is defective, you will have to offer customers a refund, exchange or repair.
While it is true that such compensation can have an effect on the finances of your business, especially if the compensation is as a result of financial loss to the client because of your professional advice or services, it is important that you do so to maintain your corporate reputation. Thankfully, businesses that invest in professional indemnity will have financial cover for when such an event occurs.
Regardless of whether you offer compensation or not, consistent consideration of complaints is essential. Make sure employees are trained to serve customers delicately and appropriately and can take action, if necessary, to resolve the problem immediately.
If you decide to offer compensation, you should offer it unconditionally and without any complications. It is also advisable to take appropriate follow-up actions, such as apologising or calling, to make sure that the problem is resolved.
Customer complaints are unavoidable regardless of the industry. But by following these steps and taking the time to discuss the problem with your client, you can turn challenges into constructive results.