We all make mistakes from time to time. When it comes to running a business, these mistakes can lead to a customer complaint. In this blog I would like to give you my views on what customers expect when they make a mistake. From my experience a well handled complaint can be resolved quickly with little or no long term damage but it takes take some time and the right attitude.
By knowing what your customers expect you may develop a greater understanding of the complaint process and the ways to resolve all complaints quickly and fairly. Customers expect most of the following whenever a complaint is made:
1. To be treated with respect (acknowledgement that their business is important and so is the issue they are raising)
2. They want to be heard. Let them say what it is they need to get off their chest, even if it is unfair or even wrong. Interupting, being aggressive or trying to dismiss them will only make matters worse.
3. The ability to deal with someone in authority, who can resolve the complaint quickly
4. The complaint to be taken seriously (not just another whinging customer)
5. Receiving an explanation of how a particular problem happened
6. Being called back when promised
7. Being given progress reports if a problem can’t be resolved on the spot
8. Being given options to resolve a problem
9. Receiving a sincere apology when an error is made
10. An assurance that the problem will not happen again.
As business owners and operators it is easy to be defensive when a customer makes a complaint but we should all be grateful, because it gives us the opportunity to do something about it. Unfortunately most complaints are never voiced, the customer simply takes their business elsewhere and along the way they tell their friends to avoid your business.
Look at every complaint as an opportunity to save these customers and the people in their sphere of influence. Very few businesses handle complaints well – if your business does you will enjoy the benefits.