5 Tips to Successfully Handle Customer Complaints

Despite your best efforts, it’s impossible to keep everyone happy all the time.  Have you ever had a customer shout or scream at you?  I have, and it's not pleasant at all!

How should you handle customer complaints?

First, it's important to remember that, contrary to popular belief, customers are NOT always right, but they ARE always the customer.

So even when a customer seems to be a compulsive complainer, they should be handled respectfully.

Here are 5 quick tips to help you handle any situation where a customer complains:

  • Before you take ANY action, take a moment to calm down. If you respond instantly, your heated emotions may cause you to say something you later regret. Instead, calmly invite the customer to share the facts, and then repeat them back, to be sure you understand correctly. This also tells the customer you’re listening closely to what they have to say.

  • The best way to interact with a customer complaint is by phone. It’s often difficult with written communication to detect the tone of voice, and sometimes that leads to misinterpretation and further upset. The majority of customers will be surprisingly courteous on the phone, especially if you make every effort to come across in a kind, reasonable way.

  • Start the conversation by apologizing for any misunderstanding, and remind them that you strive for great customer service, but sometimes mistakes are made. Ask them what would be a positive way to resolve the situation. If the request is reasonable and in your power to grant it, do it, and you’ll both be able to move on. 

  • Never ever lose your temper with a customer. This accomplishes nothing positive, and will likely damage the relationship forever. This includes ‘passive aggression’ where the words are stated calmly, but the words themselves are inflammatory. Don’t fall into that trap!

  • If it’s obvious that someone has taken advantage of your generous return policies or they’re routinely disruptive of your business, make a note of their details in your customer management system, and don’t allow future orders from them. It’s your business, and you have every right to serve whomever you choose.

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