Dealing with Customer Concerns and Issues

Antonia Blankenberg
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Best Practice in Customer Service Note on Dealing with Customer Concerns and Issues, created by Antonia Blankenberg on 07/25/2017.

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Antonia Blankenberg
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Page 1

Communicating with an unsatisfied customer:

If your customer is unsatisfied (for just or unjust reasons), you will have to use some of the many techniques of the customer service professional to win their support and continued loyalty.   There are several key stages in solving a customer's problem: Understanding and acknowledging the problem Questioning the customer for clarification Taking responsibility, apologising, empathising, listening Clarify the actions to be taken Gaining customer approval Resolving the complaint Feeding back to the customer on the progress of actions   Make sure to use the active listening skills from the previous module of the course. Ask the necessary questions to get a complete picture of the problem at hand and find out what exactly the customer is looking for.   From the beginning you should believe that the customer may be right. Always be open minded toward the customer’s opinion, make them feel that they are listened to.   Make sure not to argue or interrupt while the customer is explaining the situation.   Don't lose your self-control. If you stay relaxed, most customers will calm down.   Involve the customer in problem solving. Suggest alternative solutions to the problem at hand if they exist. Customers appreciate the opportunity to choose the ways of problem solving.   Make sure that the promised measures are taken. If you don't take action and ignore the customer’s complaint, the problem will grow.   Sometimes customers are wrong in what they're saying. If this happens, you should let them leave with dignity and without feeling embarrassed so that they feel welcome returning to the establishment.  

Page 2

Dealing with aggressive customers:

Despite your best efforts, there will always be customers that are difficult to deal with. How you respond to these customers can make the difference between a customer who feels satisfied with the resolution and one who vows never to visit again.   Use active listening skills to allow the customer to freely explain the problem.   Even if a customer begins to raise their voice, remain calm and keep a neutral tone of voice. Raising your voice will only escalate hostilities and make the situation worse.   Make sure you don't take what the customer is saying personally. The customer is not angry with you directly, they are displeased with the performance of your product or the quality of the service you provide.   Ensure that you control your body language, as it's sometimes easy to read the nonverbal cues of aggression in other people. Things like furrowing your eyebrows, staring the customer down, or crossing your arms can be taken as signs of aggression.   Make sure you don't enter the customer's personal space. When people get angry, they need a larger area of personal space, so give aggressive customers wide berth.    If the situation gets out of hand and your personal safety or the safety of another customer is in danger, you can ask the customer to leave. If the customer becomes physically aggressive, call security or the police.    After the situation has been resolved and the customer is gone, it’s helpful for you to take your own “time-out.” Even if you’ve handled the situation in the most professional way possible, it’s still a stressful experience. Taking some time will ensure that you can engage with other customers correctly. 

Page 3

Collecting customer feedback:

Collecting customer feedback is important in improving the company, especially when there is a problem.    Feedback can: identify achievements and areas for improvement identify customers’ needs and preferences identify trends in consumption provide a rationale for change, strategic planning and implementation of customer service improvements   The main types of customer complaint (below) show where attention needs to be focused in customer service. Of course not all of these problems have an instant solution, but many of them can be fixed with consistent work. Poor quality of goods and services Availability of products and services Cleanliness Treatment by staff Incorrect pricing of goods Waiting times and queue lengths