There is an idiom that goes: “You cannot please everyone”. This became an idiom because it is a reality. No matter what you do, in business and otherwise, there will always be some who will find something wrong and they will not be afraid to say so. Companies are at the receiving end of these people since they know that a business needs customers to survive and they are likely to make phone calls, send e-mails, or post comments on social networking sites just to say what is they do not like. While it is common for any business firm to have complaints directed at them, by customers or even employees, it all boils down to how they handle these complaints. It may seem much easier to take the defensive position and come up with a lot of reasons why it is not a valid gripe but it will not take care of the problem.
One way to make good use of something negative is to take it and use it as a way to improve your business processes and create better relationships. More often than not, someone who complains wants to do business with you and may do so once you resolve the issue they present. Here are a few tips on how to handle complaints and make them work for, rather than against you.
- Make sure you hear the person complaining out with no interruptions. Allow them to tell you what is bothering them in full before you even say a single word. In order for you to handle the problem as best you can, you must know all the details about the incident and the exact reason why they are complaining in the first place. There is nothing more infuriating than trying to explain yourself while someone is chiming in with their two cents after every sentence or two.
- When you have already listened to the person fully, reiterate it to them as you understand it to make sure they know that you are on the same wavelength. If you get corrected at any point, apologize and make the correction. Make sure you get to repeat the complaint until you get it perfectly correct. This allows you to solve the actual problem instead of another matter.
- Show them some empathy and let them know that the matter will not unchecked. Do not place the blame on anyone in the company or the person complaining but let them know that it will be attended to. It helps when you are sincere so avoid any scripts because they are more likely to incense them and not reassure.
- Show your sincerity even after they have left by really checking up on their issue and making at least an initial report. You can inform them of the initial steps taken to resolve their issue and keep following up on any future progress. Make sure you thank them for being candid and that you appreciate their patronage and honesty.
Unless the person is irate or offensive, you must always let them know that you value them, be it customer or employee. Teach all your employees to handle complaints gracefully even if they are not part of customer service. This will help avoid shuttling off complaints from one person or department to another. Take people’s complaints and make them your tools for motivation.