Handling Customer Complaints

by smartamarketing

Customers make or break a business. In many businesses, upset customers are rare. But when a customer is upset, the situation can cause great stress and tension to employees and to other customers. Knowing how to resolve the conflict quickly and professionally can make a big difference in how employees perform their jobs and how customers feel about the organisation.

Customers Are Often a Challenge

You can learn from that challenge. The more you learn, the more you’ll enjoy your job.

Learning to calm upset people is not easy. There is no single technique that works with every upset person. But there are skills that can be learned, with a positive attitude and practice.

Why Is It Important To Calm Upset Customers?

In a survey of service quality, it was discovered that twenty five per cent of customers had expressed a complaint in the previous twelve months. The survey stated, “In light of this significant percentage, everyone in the organisation-from teller to president-must become increasingly aware that he or she is either serving the customer directly or is serving someone in the organisation who serves the customer. All positions exist because of the customer. ”

Calming upset customers is rarely pleasant, but it must be done. If upset people continue expressing their anger and frustration without intervention, it can upset the whole office.

Upset Customers Don’t Come Back

A recent study showed that customers stop buying from a particular business for the following reasons:

1% die (not much you can do about that)

3% move away

5% form other interests

9% for competitive reasons

14% due to product dissatisfaction

68%    because someone was rude, indifferent or discourteous to them.

Another survey showed that one out of every five supermarket customers had switched stores in the last 12 months. What made them switch? The way they were treated at the cash registers, mostly.

It is clear that people want and expect good service. When they are not treated well they don’t come back.

Word of Mouth Spreads Quickly

If your organisation has a reputation for quick, courteous responses to complaints, people will be more apt to begin their conversation with you rationally.  When customers scream and yell it’s often because that’s what their friend had to do to get some action from your organisation.

One study found that, on average, one dissatisfied customer will tell 11 other people, who each will tell 5 others.  That’s 67 (1 + 11 + 55) people spreading bad word-of mouth about your organisation.  Most organisations are going to be hurt by that much bad advertising.

You Want Customers to Complain

Yes, you do.  Because if they don’t complain they’ll just take their business elsewhere, and tell their friends not to do business with you.  Think about what happens when you are treated poorly: do you usually complain? Most people don’t.  They just say “I’m never coming here again.”

A study conducted by the Technical Assistance Research Program discovered that 96% of a business’s customers don’t complain when they have a problem.  This means that for every complaint the average business receives, there are 24 silent unhappy customers.

Yet if a customer does complain, he is more likely to come back.  The act of complaining can actually increase customer loyalty.

Unhappy Customers Who Will Buy From You Again*

No Complaint                         37% (63% won’t come back)

Complaint not resolved           46% (54% won’t come back)

Complaint resolved                 70% (30% won’t come back)

Complaint resolved quickly    5% (only 5% won’t come back)

So remember: Encourage customers to complain when they have a problem.

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