It is a sad fact of life that not everyone can be pleased. In our personal lives, we just deal with it and move on. In a professional capacity, an unhappy customer can be the downfall of a small business. A complaint can question the very essence of what you are striving to achieve and it can also give you a momentary lack of self confidence that will leave you questioning every action you make for weeks to come. So how do you deal with a complaint?
The most important thing is to acknowledge and not to ignore it. Burying your head in the sand will not make it go away. While you are making that hole and throwing sand and seashells around, that customer could very well be sitting at his or her computer typing out their complaint with the speed of light on every networking and consumer website going. Avoid that possibility at all costs.
Respond to the customer complaint in person, as much as you can. Be it in person, or by a telephone call. Your initial response should never be by email as it is extremely impersonal. Once you have seen the person, or spoken to them on the phone, follow up the discussion by email or letter. This will layout in writing what has been discussed and will provide a record of the communication.
When dealing with the customer, never come across that the customer was wrong. The saying ‘the customer is always right’ should be adhered to despite how you may feel about the situation. They have the upper hand in this case and have the power to bring your business down quickly leaving you to deal with damage control. Always be respectful and empathetic to their concerns. Offer a solution be it in the form of the service being re-done, or some form of compensation.
Once the situation has been resolved, follow up with the customer to ensure that everything is okay again and their confidence has been restored in you business and service.