They should never be handled in an off-the-cuff fashion. All kinds of things can cause challenging situations with customers, but the fundamental steps in handling them are basically the same.
Listen: Start by hearing them out and taking note of important details. Listening is not only important for getting the situation resolved, but also for making the customer calm down and feel better. At the beginning of the interaction, the customer wants to know that someone from your business is genuinely listening to them. If they feel that you are responsive, their initial anger and frustration will often subside.
Acknowledge: Let the customer know that you empathize with their complaint. Allow them to feel validated as this shows them that you understand their feelings. Apologize, but do not become defensive or overly apologetic.
Question: Never make assumptions. Always ask the questions you need in order to clarify the situation. What do you need to know in order to resolve the problem at hand? Asking questions shows that you have been listening and that you are concerned enough to not only learn more but also create a solution.
Confirm: Take notes during your interaction and read back over the pertinent details to the customer to make sure you have everything correct. There could be an important detail that you missed. You also need to confirm the customer’s side of things. Say to them, “Let me see if I understand everything clearly…”
Provide: Now is the time to resolve the customer’s problem. Hopefully, you already have a clearly outlined protocol for handling it. If not, improvise a temporary solution to the problem based on your principles of customer service, until you have solid customer complaint protocols in place. Be sure to resolve the problem quickly before an upset customer post a negative review to Yelp, Facebook, or any social
Check: Confirm that you have solved the problem for the customer. Make sure you ask the customer, “Is there anything else with which I can help you?” Sometimes people will not tell you if they are still unhappy. Do not let them leave disgruntled with the interaction.
Valarie Hurst is a transformational life coach, social media coach, and beauty marketing coach. She has more than 20 years of combined experience in the beauty, spa and wellness industry and business management. She is the founder and president of Valarie Hurst & Company, where she specializes in coaching women entrepreneurs how to harness the power of social media and internet marketing to maximize their online presence for more profits. She helps women create lifestyles and believes it is the underpinning motivational factor for which so many are searching, but are not sure where to start.