How to Handle Customer Complaints Without Damaging Your Business

This is a guest post provided by Kristin Savage.

Customers complaints happen quite often, but it does not necessarily mean there is a problem with your business. Complaints happen when customers are not satisfied with a product or service, and should not be ignored. An important part of growing your field service business is maintaining a good relationship with your existing customers, as well as attracting new ones.

Poor customer service doesn’t do any good for your business and can negatively affect the relationship with your customers. They will be disappointed that you did not show interest in solving their issue and you will lose them. They will, most likely, share their bad experience with other people and this can affect new customers from considering you. In order for you to prevent that, you need to properly handle complaints and show customers that you value their opinion. Here are four strategies you can turn to.

1. Show Customers That You Care

One of the most important parts of handling complaints is to show your customers that their opinion is heard and cared for. In these situations, you need to put your emotions aside and calmly listen to what they have to say. Sure, some of their problems might be unreasonable, but in order for them to feel like they are treated with respect and effectively change their minds, you need to actively listen to them.

In order to have a productive discussion, you need to get customers into a calm state of mind and you can do so by using words and phrases such as “Tell me more about the issue” or “I understand your situation.” When they see that you are not turning defensive, they will begin to calm down.

Acknowledge the issue and let the customer know that you have heard what they are saying. The most effective way to do so is by repeating what they told you, using sentences such as “So, if I understand correctly…” or “Your issue seems to be… Is that right?” You’ll also want to avoid these words or phrases when talking to customers.

After the customer confirms and sees that you paid attention to what they were saying, they will lower their defense and keep the conversation moving in a positive direction.

Always apologize for the inconvenience. This does not mean that you have admitted you are wrong and they are right, but rather that you feel sorry they perceived this as a bad experience. This shows empathy toward their displeasure.

2. Always Investigate the Issue

After listening to what the customer has to say, investigate the issue thoroughly before coming up with any solution. While some complaints are easy to solve, such as a faulty product that needs to be replaced, or a misunderstanding that needs to be cleared out, others may require a bit more effort. Ensure the customer that you will look into the issue and the reason you are not taking immediate action is not that you do not care about their issue, but because you want to make sure you handle the situation the best possible way.

In order to reassure them that things will be taken care of, you can briefly explain to them the actions you will take in regards to their complaint. You can say something on the lines of “In order for me to provide the best solution, I will have to check X and do Y and I will follow up to you in Z days.” Always give a realistic timescale and do not over promise.

If you need to involve another colleague or superior in this, always tell the customer who will be contacting them and why. This way, they won’t get surprised or defensive when they get a call back from John, instead of Mary.

3. Offer a Proper Solution

After making sure you have all the information needed in order to solve the issue, inform the customer how the situation will be taken care of. In order to keep them satisfied, you can also offer them something in return, to make up for their bad experience, such as a discount on a future service. This will help you regain their trust, as well as encourage them to use your services again.

Solving one particular problem does not mean the issues are gone and replacing the product will not ensure other customers will not have the same complaint in the future. Successfully solving the problem may sometimes mean going back to your processes or talking to or training your technicians to making sure this will not happen again with other customers.

Often complaints are just a misunderstanding and the language barrier can be an important factor in this situation. If some of your customers are foreigners and you need to send them an extensive reply to their complaint, they might not be able to understand your point of view. One way to break that barrier is to respond to them in their language. If you’ve got an employee that can speak the language, turn to them for help. You can also use services such as PickWriters to translate your response and make sure they receive the correct message.

4. Ask for Feedback

In order to make sure your fields service business is headed towards the right direction, simply solving complaints is not enough. You need to use this as a way to improve your business and constantly collecting feedback from your customers is the best way to do so.

You can collect feedback by asking the customers directly about their experience and what can you do to improve it. This will once again show them that their opinion is important to you. Another way to collect feedback is through surveys or feedback forms. In order to gain meaningful information, as well as not lose the customer’s interest, make the surveys clear and concise. Only include questions that are relevant to your business’ improvement.

One way to handle feedback is to record and store meaningful complaints, so you and your employees know how to react in such situations. Encourage your team to do the same, as it is a good way to learn from your mistakes. After a while, you might be able to recognize a pattern and maybe spot an issue you were not aware of until now, while also providing your team with a way to effectively act in difficult situations. A good way to track customer notes is using a field service app that lets you capture feedback on your mobile device, so you don’t forget to do it.

Using these four strategies can help you take care of customer complaints without damaging your business. Do you or will you use any of these approaches for your customers, or have other methods worked for you? Leave us a comment below!

Kristin Savage nourishes, sparks and empowers using the magic of a word. Along with pursuing her degree in Creative Writing, Kristin was gaining experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in marketing strategy for publishers and authors. Now she had found herself as a freelance writer. You can find her on Facebook.  

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Last modified: June 20, 2019

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