In this situation, apply the technique of neither smiling nor having a cheerful face expression. Listen to the customer complaints and decide whether you have the capacity to handle them or you must call your superior.
In the interest of providing better service, it is advisable for the manager to work out the details of what authorities each employee has when it comes to handling complaints.
It often happens that the customer gets very angry, unpleasant and loud, disturbing other customers. In this situation, customer needs to be taken into a different room where the conversation can be carried out in private. This type of incident is unfavorable for your establishment, since this customer can spread the word about their dissatisfaction.
Handling customer complaints in 8 steps:
- Apologize and be sorry – the first step is to apologize and be truly sorry for what happened. You must not belittle the complaint since this humiliates the customer and sends them a message that they’re lying.
- Listen – when they are speaking, attention needs to be directed towards the customer. Stop doing what you’re doing (sends a message that nothing will distract you from solving the problem). Let the customer finish with presenting their problem and don’t make premature conclusions.
- Take notes – while the customer is presenting the problem, don’t interrupt but take notes of what they’re saying since this will later help you in responding and offering a solution (sends a message that the problem will be dealt with seriously and systematically).
- Repeat the problem – when the customer is finished, briefly repeat the problem to make sure you have understood it correctly.
- Offer a solution – if possible, offer a solution right away, two realistic options, without giving false promises or exaggerating. If not possible, give a firm promise that everything will be done to solve the problem in a satisfactory manner.
- Apologize and thank the customer – the conversation must end with a repeat apology and a thank you to the customer for warning you about the problem. This sends a message that the customer’s opinion is appreciated.
- Report to your superior – next step is reporting to your superior, agreeing about the solution, making a decision and following its progress.
- Report to the customer – as the final step, you must inform the customer about what was done to solve the problem, instead of giving that task to a colleague. This sends a message that you took the problem seriously and personally made sure it was solved. This is personalized service.
If it becomes evident that the complaint is a result of a systematic inappropriate procedure or of a permanent deficiency, actions must be taken to introduce new and improved procedures in order to keep the problem from repeating in the future.
There are customers who get even more upset when they receive an apology. In that case, stop apologizing and talk as little as possible.