Sorry seems to be the hardest word

Posted by suzichristie on August 13, 2013

Even if you offer a brilliant service and have never had a complaint, you can be sure that someone somewhere will find fault with your service. You will probably know from personal experience that a company that has handles your own complaint efficiently and puts things right has a good chance of retaining your business. In my experience, the companies that refuse to say sorry when they have made a mistake are the ones I am likely to ditch. I don't expect them to go overboard with apologies - one quick 'sorry' is all I require.

Here are my top ten tips for dealing with complaints:

1) Be pleasant and use a tone that makes the customer feel you are genuinely interested in resolving their problem. Make them feel valued – not a nuisance

2) Don’t be defensive – wait to hear what the customer has to say before you respond

3) Clearly summarise the problem back to the customer to show you have understood the details

4) If the customer is in error, explain this politely

5) If you can’t resolve the problem there and then, explain clearly what you propose to do and make sure the customer understands what is going to happen

6) If the customer has a valid complaint, admit it and thank them for bringing it to your attention

7) Offer a solution that is convenient to the customer and mutually acceptable – go beyond the customer’s expectations. You could turn a negative situation into a really positive one

8) Provide a telephone number, or other contact information in case the customer has any additional questions or concerns

9) Draft a written summary of the discussion for your future reference

10) Where appropriate, follow up in a reasonable time to make sure the customer is satisfied