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Managing customer complaints

Customer complaints are an inevitable part of running a business. Managing customer complaints helps to retain existing customers and improve overall customer service.

It is crucial to deal with complaints in an appropriate manner as poorly handled complaints can see customers withdraw their business and encourage others to do so too. Here are four tips to deal with complaints effectively:

Actively listen
When approaching the customer, apologise for the matter and don’t blame others. Be sure to thank the customer for raising the complaint and listen intently, asking questions and summarising what they have said.

Focus on solutions
Discuss different options for fixing the issue with the customer. Be sure to clarify what they are seeking, i.e. a replacement or refund. Negotiate a solution that meets both parties needs.

Follow-up
It is good practice to follow up with the customer within a week to make sure they are satisfied with the outcome and the way the complaint was handled. Encourage customers to provide feedback so you are aware of any problems.

Assign someone to handle complaints
Assigning one staff member to manage complaints ensures the complaint-handling process is thorough and consistent. It also ensures the staff member has adequate customer service training and skills to manage customer complaint behaviour. Make sure there is at least one other person who you can refer complaints to when the assigned staff member can’t resolve them or is not there.

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