My wife was angry! About a year ago, she made a change to our home internet service and because of a system SNAFU, our home phone number was changed. What did she do? She complained.
Over the past year, she has made 2 other small changes to our service and both times some seemingly unrelated problem is created. What does she do? She calls and complains.
I asked her the other day why she didn’t change service providers. Her response: “The customer service people are so nice about the problems. They really listen and try hard to fix the problem if they can.”
There is something here for all of us to learn.
Find the right type of person to take these calls.
This isn’t a job for everyone but it is one of the most important jobs in your company. This person might save more in revenue for your company than your best sales person will generate. Find someone in your company who can be the “voice of the customer” in your office. Look for a great listener who is empathetic. Its time to find a new person for this job if you hear snarky comments made to a co-worker about how dumb the customer was or a raised voice when dealing with a particularly difficult person.
Accept the blame for a failed experience
Most likely the problem is not your fault. However, your assumption must be that, if a customer is complaining, you have let them down. Period. Maybe you messed up or maybe you just need to communicate a little better at the start of the job. Oh, and while I am at it, avoid that passive-aggressive BS that goes like this: “Fine, its my fault. Your right. I’m wrong.” Better to simply hang up.
[Pro Tip] Talk about why it will not happen again
If you want the real Ninja move, try this. Empower the person dealing with the customer to openly brainstorm ways of changing something so someone else will not have the same issue.
Here are a few suggestions on how to loose money, destroy your reputation and bleed your brand equity. Today is Halloween so I need to be scary.
That angry customer on the phone is gasoline and a spark. All you need to do is add a little oxygen. Go ahead, tell them they are wrong; tell them you never promised that in the first place. Vent. Go for it. Just remember to video it and post it online because the rest of us will love watching you act like a jerk.
Give in and assume that they just want a refund
Lots of business owners assume that the right response to a complaint is to offer a refund. NOT TRUE. The complaining customer doesn’t want a refund. They want to be heard. They want to know its not going to happen again.
Give up and blow it off
Owning or managing a local business is tough. There are lots of demands on your time and you have to choose every day which things are not going to get done today. Blowing off a complaint is not just losing a sale, its losing lots of future sales and giving up on your company culture that defines what happens when you are not the one on the phone with the customer.