How To Handle A Customer Complaint in Six Steps
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail Doc blog.
There are only a handful of customers who enjoy threatening, swearing and throwing a tantrum to get their way. What they want is satisfaction.
Here are six steps to handle a customer complaint:
1. Shut up. That might sound gruff, but when a customer is angry, the last thing they want is someone to jump in and offer a solution. To diffuse their anger and possibly prevent them venting about it to a friend, let the customer get all of their complaints out.
2. Don’t second-guess. Don’t offer your opinion of your customer’s complaint until you understand what it is they are complaining about. If you’re unsure if they are done, ask the customer if they have any other concerns. Keep listening while looking in their eyes.
3. Ask what they want. It can be as simple as an apology. It can be as complex as a replacement for an item purchased a year or more ago without a receipt. Before you jump in with both feet, stay an interested observer and discover what it is they want from you.
4. Tell them what you can do. While they might want the moon, most people are reasonable. Know your boundaries. If you can easily give a refund, do it. However, don’t roll over if they don’t have a receipt as it could be theft — give them store credit if they have proper ID. Also, be clear and tell them what you can do, not what you can’t. If they’re told only a store manager is authorized to do a refund, that pretty much tells the customer they will get a refund. If that’s the case, why is the customer having to go through hoops? Trust and train those who will deal with customer complaints so the customer only has to deal with one person and only once.
5. Ask if they are satisfied. When the situation has been resolved, simply ask the customer if they are satisfied. It may seem unnecessary, but it opens the door for them to get rid of any leftover resentment, ask a question or offer a compliment. You as a retailer end up a winner no matter what they say as they’ve given you one more chance to create an exceptional experience that they can tell their friends about.
6. Share how you handled it with your crew. Every interaction is different, so use the nuances, the exceptions and the positive outcomes to train others at your next store meeting or store huddle.
What advice would you give to associates in how to handle customer complaints? Are there any tips you would add to those mentioned in the article?