Brand Strategy. Brand Energy.
So How Do You Handle Customer Complaints?
In sales your best friend is complaints and how you handle them. In my line of work as a target marketing company where many times we get a list of past accounts from company as our call list we get 1st hand front line complaints. Most of these past clients just stopped buying. Gone and no one followed up to find out why.
I’ll use myself as an example I stopped using a firm for some email work. No one bothered to call and talk to me as to why until today after I viewed a podcast they put on which I watched because I wanted to find out about any new tricks of the trade. When the last 25 minutes turned into a sales push (a hard push) I got so turned off I expressed my view to the mystery person taking questions to forward to the person running the program. Then after the program (15 minutes or so) a woman called up to get my thoughts I told her why I would NOT buy which got the president of the company emailing me as to what happened which led to the VP of sales getting and email.. And all this 9 months after I was an unhappy customer. Can this client be saved? Stay tuned till next week.
Customer service and sales people. You are the front line of a good marketing rebound. You hear it all.
That is why companies use us for calling past accounts.
When a client complains it’s your/our opportunity to turn them back to a good account. So how do we handle it?
1. Stay calm: The customer is not attacking you but rather the situation. If you stay calm and Spock like you will be in a position of strength.
2. Listen: Let the ExClient speak their mind. Totally! My mentor Hank Trisler would use one word in a situation like this: Oh? or Ohhhhh… and the Past client would talk and say more and more of what happened till 9 times out of 10 the anger would dissipate and you could rationally come up with a plan to move forward. We are problem solvers not arguers.
3. Empathize: We have all been there haven’t we. So now step back and let the Past Client know you feel their pain. Let them know you have listened but talking back clarification of what they just told you using your words not theirs to make sure you got it right. You might say “I can see how that would be frustrating.” You are not agreeing you are respecting their feelings as to how they feel about the situation.
4. If possible offer a solution. It might be like my story above where the VP is going to call me. But something is happening to solve my complaint. Even if it is 9 months later. Many or my calls for clients are over a year later so the problem or lost account does not go away. It just festers.
5. Execute the solution: Solve this problem and win them back. Work out a plan of action as to what steps are going to happen. And DO IT. You do not have to give in but you need to get to the bottom of what really happened. Then I cannot say it enough you got to do what you say you are going to do, as fast as possible.
6. Follow-up: If appropriate make a quick follow-up phone call to make sure what you said was going to happen is happening. It might be out of your hands as to the outcome but it is in your control to follow up. Make the call.
7. And lastly be prepared for complaints.
P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 10 hours a week. Maybe you could add telemarketing into your marketing mix and have us find out about ExCustomer complaints!