While A Customer Complains

Yesterday I introduced the series on complaints, so today is the first real article in the series. What should you do while a customer is complaining? It’s not that complicated if you think of it, but a lot of things in customer service aren’t – they’re just harder to do than say.

The main thing to keep in mind is that when a customer is complaining – he or she is mad, frustrated, and quite likely, angry. Chances are the customer won’t act very logically, consider both sides of the story, be as friend as usual, or anything of that nature.

Now, for the tips.

Be nice.
It’s the ultimate rule of customer service, and certainly the ultimate rule of dealing with angry customers. Be nice. Even if the customer is being rude to you, explain to him or her that being rude won’t get anyone anywhere and to try and be nice as well. Chances are the customer will calm down if you’re calm.

Be considerate.
Be sure to actually listen to your customer’s problem and try to genuinelygenuine help him or her. If the customer senses that you’re not really listening and not caring, they’ll start getting rude and screaming. No one wants that, so try and care about the customer’s problem or find someone in your company who will and have them handle customer complaints.

Another important part of handling customer complaints is to constantly apologize. Apologize about any inconveniences caused, money lost, etc. Again, make your apologies genuine and be considerate about the customer’s problems.

(Prepare to) Compensate.
A good way to make customers happy while they are complaining is trying to compensate them. You don’t have to compensate them right then and there, but you should certainly say something like “I apologize about this. We’ll definitely give you some sort of credit or compensation for your inconveniences.” If possible, offer credits, but if the customer says he or she doesn’t want one, give pure cash. Generally, your credits should be worth more than the cash you’re prepared to give.

Work on resolving the issue.
As the customer is complaining, work on resolving the issue. This means looking up their account, checking into the history, etc. Work pro-actively instead of sitting there and just saying “OK.” That way when the customer is done explaining (and complaining), you can work on resolving the issue right then and there.

That’s part one. Tomorrow’s post will be about dealing with customer complaints and using them to your advantage. I think I may split it into two separate posts (and days), but we’ll see.