Learning how to handle customer complaints in retail business can make a big difference in whether you lose a customer or keep one for life. Here are the basic guidelines every retailer should follow when handling customer complaints.
- Customers who complain are giving the chance to make it right so grab that chance right away – don’t put off addressing a customer complaint or problem
- No matter what the complaint is about or who is at fault, you want to stay calm. The customer may be very agitated, and he or she may have good reason. They may take out their frustration on you, and even say negative things. You will want to remain calm and logical the entire time.
- Listen to everything the customer has to say and let them finish without interrupting them – you don’t have a case to prove, so don’t get defensive.
- Say you’re sorry. Then say you’re sorry again.
- Try to honestly resolve the problem or issue and take corrective action so that it doesn’t happen again.
- Don’t overreact, especially if the problem involves an employee. You want to be fair and overreacting may just add additional fuel to the fire.
- Don’t make promises you can or don’t intend to keep – the customer will soon know that you are just placating them.
- If the offense is serious – involving harassment or threatening comments, then assure the customer that the matter will be investigated thoroughly, but don’t commit right away to a course of action. Contact your business lawyer immediately.
- If the complaint involves a product malfunction that could be dangerous, you should also contact your attorney.
- Forget about right and wrong for the moment and just be polite and civil. You may not be able to produce an immediate outcome but you can gain the customer’s trust and make them feel good about their decision to do business with you n the first place.
Effectively handling customer complaints requires patience, the ability to listen carefully and empathetically and good language skills. You will also need management skills in order to sort through the customer's grievances and identify the valid issues that need to be addressed. Stay calm, be reasonable and keep an open mind and your customers will appreciate the sincere efforts you make to handle their complaints.