In life and in business, we tend to hate two things mainly: criticism and hassle. And why wouldn’t we? We all want a drama-free life without people telling us what we are doing wrong – that’s human nature. Complaints and additional work can be a bit demoralizing.
However, in business (especially online as vendors of a product or service), whether it is justified or not – we are always at some stage going to have to deal with complaints. And as much as that is something no one wants to face – we must learn that no matter how good we are, everyone has their own level of quality and a different perception of what they want to experience. Plus, things don’t always go smoothly – our connection can be slow, a tool may not work or something may not go to plan. It is alright in these moments for customers to get frustrated. That’s ok.
The only thing you must realize and prepare for is:
1. Complaints will happen and sometimes it’s not your fault.
2. Learn how to deal with complaints in an effective way that serves and protects both you and the customer.
If you don’t accept the above facts – you’re going to get an unhappy customer, leading to bad reviews and counter-productive word of mouth. So, understand that when complaints happen it is not so much about the complaint itself – it is how you deal with it that will be how you are measured by them. That is, not what went wrong but how you treated them afterwards.
Don’t think if you get a complaint online that the world is over and that you are bad at what you do and certainly don’t take it personally. The best thing you can do next in this situation is focus. Focus on what you can do to now rectify the situation. Unhappy customers become happy ones when they have an experience of something going wrong and note that it is dealt with swiftly, professionally and most of all – with care and politeness.
Often we can get so caught up by the insult of a complaint, we can fuel even more complaints with our harsh and defensive reactions. Or we may even not bother to fix it in the way we should because it seems like a pain.
Here’s my recommendation:
Respond to complaints calmly, confidently and completely.
Every complaint is an opportunity to turn around a dissatisfied customer – respond quickly and positively. Remember your brand is easily damaged, and the last thing you want is for people to be actively spreading bad stories about your business. A complaint that is dealt with well can often result in a loyal customer, one that has the experience of how sweet you were when they were quite cross. In doing this (as opposed to getting annoyed with them) gives them refreshed trust in your brand and the confidence to buy again. Why? Because they now know if things do go wrong they will be sorted out quickly.
And that is worth much more to your business, your reputation and bottom line than trying to be perfect. Customer complaints, and your positive and helpful response to them can actually become a strength builder for your business and brand.