I will deal with this topic is three steps:
- Allow customers to complain and remove any barriers.
- How to respond to customer complaints
- In the last, how to avoid customer complaints
1. Strategies to allow customers to complain and reduce customer complaint barriers.
Be open and available to listen to your customers. The customer is doing you a favour by complaining and providing you with the feedback. If you do not want to hear, the customer will leave you and move to your competitor. You do not want that. (or do you?)
Respond to customer complaints and respond fast.
Reward customers for complaining. The more you listen to your customers, the more you act on your complaints, you will reduce the number of complaints in the long run.
Use technology. I am no big fan of bots on the company website site, but at least these provide a 24x7 venue for the customer to ask questions, seek help. With the advancement of technology, these bots do quite a good job. We, too, have a bot on our website. Try asking some questions about quality management or ASQ certification, and see how well this performs.
This article is written based on a question asked by a site visitor on the bot. We regularly review what our customers are looking for and try to update the site contents based on these queries.
Use Social media to communicate with your customers. Open multiple channels of communication.
More than 90% of customers do not even bother to complain. They simply move to your competitors.
2. How to deal With customer complaints?
Everyone in the organization is responsible for customer satisfaction. When handling a complaining customer, these steps will be helpful:
a) As a first step, listen to the customer. Ask questions to make sure that you understood the problem correctly. Asking questions also gives a feeling to that customer that you are listening and are interested in solving the problem.
b) Do not provide justification or excuses. Hold your judgement. You absolutely do not want to argue with the customer.
c) Provide feedback to the customer. If, based on a complaint, you have taken some actions, make sure that you let the customer know that.
d) Check with the customer if they are satisfied with the resolution.
3. How to avoid customer complaints?
Promise less deliver more. (Under-promise, over-delivery). To improve customer experience, just do not over-promise.
Act on customer complaints, find the root cause of the problem and take long term corrective action. There is no magic bullet that will solve all your customer compliant issues. Take action on complaints and ensure that similar complaints are not repeated.
In addition to acting on customer complaints, make sure that you have a mechanism in place to track them.
Make it right the first time. If you are producing something and supplying to your customers, make sure that no defective item or piece leaves your facility.