Friday, 1 October 2010


Customer complaints can be a real headache for those in Non Sales
For conventional headaches there are medicines. Indeed there is an over the counter medicine called RESOLVE.

Handling and answering customer complaints you can also use R.E.S.O.L.V.E. to dissolve away a customer’s anger, disappointment and frustration.

The way in which you handle complaints within your organisation can be key to ensuring your customer’s loyalty and satisfaction. Indeed, research shows that customers will be more loyal when they have had a complaint resolved satisfactorily than if they had no reason to complain in the first place. It is all part of what we call nowadays customer experience management (CEM).

Rather than Alka Seltzer's "Plink! Plink! Fizz Fizz" try "Think! Think!" and R.E.S.O.L.V.E.

Take these useful steps for handling complaints and use them in a professional manner and you’ll reduce your complaints headache:-

R ecognise the anger and acknowledge that the problem exists

Do not try to reason or rationalise with emotional states like anger.

Make sure you don’t pour petrol on the bonfire. Avoid statements like “please calm down”, or “shouting won’t help”, since they will only serve to further aggravate a complainant.

If you’re not part of the customer’s solution then they will see you as part of their problem.

So take responsibility for the problem and wherever possible try not to transfer the call or pass the buck. Apologise for the way they are feeling, even if the complaint seems unwarranted at this time.

Soothe them like a cool stream.

E stablish the facts

Use open questions (e.g. “what”, “when”, “how”, etc.) to clarify your understanding and establish the real issues.

Avoid direct accusations (e.g. “Is it possible that….” rather than “Are you sure you didn’t….”).

S how concern and empathy

How you say what you say is important.The tone of your voice is vital in conveying concern.It isn’t just what you say, but how you say it that will reassure the customer of your sincerity and willingness to resolve their problem.

Empathy involves putting yourself in the customer’s shoes and understanding how they are feeling at that time. Convey sincerity to explain that you understand and why it is you can understand their predicament.

Nothing will upset a customer more than being “railroaded” into a solution against their will.

O ffer options, however few, to give the customer a feeling of control over the outcome.

Avoid saying “sorry, its company policy” at all costs.

L isten at all times!

Customers who are complaining often need an opportunity to blow off some steam.

Remember this is not personal, so listen attentively to what they are saying and why they are saying it. Irate customers do not like to be asked to repeat themselves!!!

aVoid saying “no”, or “I can’t”

Customers do not like to be told what they can’t have!!
Instead reframe your language to emphasise what they can have
For exmaple change “I can’t get another machine out to you tomorrow” into “what I can do is arrange a special delivery for you within the next 48hrs”).

E nsure that the customer is happy

An unhappy customer will tell 10 other people of their dissatisfaction with you. On the other hand, well handled complaints will result in increased customer loyalty.

Make sure they are pleased with the outcome! Check their 'headache' has been reduced and of course resolved.

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