Do you make complaints a positive experience?

Last updated by Brady Stroud [SSW] 17 days ago.See history

Nobody likes to hear they have an unhappy customer, but it happens. Maybe a deadline was missed, or a feature didn't work out as expected, or perhaps the client's just having a bad day. 🤬

When you get the call/email, how you respond can make or break the relationship. When handled correctly, complaints can turn into a positive outcome for both you and the client! 🎉

How to deal with complaints

  1. Don't take it personally, understand that most angry customers are not angry with you personally, but rather the situation in which they currently find themselves
  2. Stay relaxed, listen carefully, and acknowledge the concerns
  3. Isolate the issues

    If solving the issue(s) is within your power, you should action it (or put a plan into motion) right away. But this may not always be the case - maybe you're a developer and the customer is upset about an invoice. In that case...

  4. Conference in the appropriate resources. While you have the client on the call, don't let them go

    OK, let's try and get this sorted right now. Is it OK with you if I bring in {{ RELEVANT PERSON }} to help work this out?

    Figure: Good example - Bring in the people who can help resolve the problem right away.

    old phone connection
    Figure: Conference in another person to solve the problem - it's a lot easier than it used to be

  5. Follow up the proposed solution

    E.g. "Bob, as per our conversation, Goldie will be on-site 9am tomorrow morning."

  6. When the problem is finally solved, confirm so in writing, including the cause of the problem and what was done to fix it

    E.g. "Bob, I'm glad Goldie was able to restore your application last night after the cleaners accidentally bumped the power cord on the server. Goldie plugged the power cable back in and fixed the error log. As discussed it would be a good idea to lock the server room. If there's anything else we can do to help - let me know."

Someone will complain about what you do no matter how 'perfect' you are. That doesn't matter. It's how you deal with the complaint that matters. It's important that every customer has a positive experience with your business and feels happy when they leave.


Remember: It's important to resolve a client's complaint because studies have shown that:

  • For every customer that complains, there may be 26 others that will not tell you they are dissatisfied. Of this 26:

    • Up to 19 will not come back
    • Most will tell 9 to 10 others
    • At least 3 will tell more than 20 people
  • For every dissatisfied customer whose complaint you handle well:

    • 95% will become loyal
    • Most will recommend to 5 others

More on 50 Important Customer Experience Stats for Business Leaders.

Thus, by resolving a complaint efficiently and fairly, you will retain the customer's loyalty and potentially gain 5 new customers.

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