Lunes, Agosto 20, 2012

How to Handle Customer Complaints

Handling customer complaints is an art
Every company that deals with customers have to know how to handle customer complaints.  Let us face it, no matter how online entrepreneurs try to satisfy their clients, there will always be some who will feel that they did not get the kind of service that they deserve.  It is simply not possible to please everyone all the time.

For every 10 clients who are satisfied with your service, there will always be at least 1 who will send a series of emails and complain about the service they receive.  Some of these clients will find a way for their complaints to be heard by the public.  They will talk about their ire in Facebook or in Twitter or in any other social media which may seriously damage the reputation of your company.

In my over 6 years of managing my own website, I have received several complaints from my clients. However, I have learned to control the actions of these dissatisfied customers so they do not vent about their complaints in the social media.  In many cases, these complaining customers have been my most loyal customers. 

Why is that so? Because I have made it a point to listen to their complaints and to address them right away.  

Below are the ways by which online entrepreneurs should handle complaining customers:

1. Set up Google Alerts.  Google Alerts is a free tool that allows online entrepreneurs to monitor online conversations about their business.  Using this free tool, online entrepreneurs can stay ahead of the pack by knowing how their customers feel about the service they received from the company.  Knowledge is power.  By knowing about these comments, you can immediately talk to the customers involved and respond to them.

2. Dissatisfied customers want to be heard.  Dissatisfied customers have one thing in common.  They want somebody to listen to them.  If you do not want your dissatisfied customers to talk about their complaints in Facebook or Twitter and let their friends know about it, you should make it a goal to listen to your customers' complaints.   

Make sure that the person who will talk to the dissatisfied customer is somebody who can actually make decision for the company such as replace a product or send refunds.  A dissatisfied customer wants to know that he is talking to somebody who can actually address his concern not somebody whose task is to file a report.   

3. Address customer complaints immediately.  If there is one thing that will annoy dissatisfied customers it is slow response to their complaints.  If you react to customer's complaints slowly these customers will think that you are not interested in addressing their problems.   

If you receive an email from a dissatisfied customer make sure to respond to it right away and find out how you can appease the client.  Avoid letting another day pass before you will address the dissatisfied customer's complaints. 

4. Be irrationally generous to your dissatisfied customers.  An authority in Internet Marketing once said that online entrepreneurs who really want to satisfy their clients should be irrationally generous. This means being ready to send full refund to complaining customers even if they are not deserving of it.   Think of it as a cost managing an online business.   

You may think that it is absurd to apply this policy to your online business.  However, the long term gains you will receive from adopting this policy will outweigh the loss you made from refunding your client's money.  Think about it.  An unhappy customer tells about his friends about the service he received or he posts a review online about the poor service he received from your company.  This one customer's complaint will bring serious damage to your company's online reputation.   

However, if you decide to give out a full refund, you make him happy.  He may eventually make another purchase or he could tell his friends about the great experience he received from your company.

Knowing how to handle customer complains is an important part of doing business online.  Because of the speed by which bad reviews can spread online, it is indispensable for online entrepreneurs to find out what others are saying about their business and to address them right away.   Listen to your customer's needs, address their concerns immediately and be ready to send refunds. Those are the secrets to handling customer complains effectively.

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