December 29, 2016

How We Deal With Customer Complaints

A rowdy customer? Let’s face it if you’re in business then most likely you’ve dealt with a customer complaint, a bad review, a time when someone wasn’t happy with your service or product offering.

It happens all the time in business; customers come from all walks of life, all mindsets and all levels of income.

The reason they buy is that they are sold through a sales process or have a desire to purchase whatever it is your offering.

Usually, after buying they either are happy with their purchase or they are disgruntled angry and feel as if they are owed compensation in return.

If you’re like me and you’ve been in business a long time, then you’ve had your fair share of experiences with angry customers.

Sometimes the customer is justified, and their experience was not up to par, other times the customer is just trying to take you for a free spin and wants a refund.

All customers are different but your response to dealing with customers should always be the same. Always try to mediate the situation and get to the cause of the problem. More often than not if you can get to the root of the problem and provide a reasonable solution, you will turn things around.

Check out this article in with me and some awesome entrepreneurs about how we deal with customer complaints and how we win our customers over.

I recently had a customer who placed a $20,000 order for a booth at my expo. It was a huge exhibition with over 40,000 people who attended.

The customer was not happy with some minor issues about his booth set up.

The problem was the build up was done by a third party company and not my people.

I complained to the third party company but either way, my customer was not happy and ultimately the responsibility to rectify the situation was entirely mine alone.

He asked for a refund to which I complied even though in my heart I didn’t want to and didn’t feel it was sincere.

I still agreed with my customer I didn’t argue back, or defend myself and say it wasn’t my fault and I was not honoring the refund.

I agreed completely with the customer and said the set up was not up to par. It can be much better, and you deserve better.

I told him I’m going to process your refund immediately no questions asked, I also asked him what his favorite restaurant was. He mentioned it was Novikov in Dubai.

Which also happens to be one of my favorite restaurants and a place I usually visit once a week. I called up the manager of the restaurant told him I needed a favor and said I wanted to purchase a gift voucher.

The manager set it all up and coordinated my request correctly. I sent my personal driver to go pick it up right away, and I sent along a handwritten note apologizing for the misunderstanding and explaining that I would love the opportunity to make it right.

I then had it hand delivered to his personal residence in the evening.

I also got the manager of the restaurant to give him a call and tell him they were excited to host him inside Novikov at his next visit and when he intended to come to call the manager himself so he can greet him outside and walk him in.

Needless to say, the customer was blown away. He had never experienced this kind of gesture in making a sincere effort to make things right.

He called me up and ended up taking a $30,000 vendor booth instead of a $20,000 one. He not only took a bigger booth but he also signed up for next year as well.

Sometimes we want to respond with defending ourselves and explaining our side of the story. But there usually is a time and place to do that, and when the customer is complaining and angry, it’s not the time and place.

You don’t feed the fire with more fuel you neutralize it by using some water or a softer approach.

When the time was right, and the customer was happy again, I then explained my side of the story. It resulted in 10k more in sales and repeated business for another year.

If I was to quantify how much that restaurant voucher, that call to the manager, and the hand-delivered a note with my personal driver cost me, it was peanuts to the 40k in repeat business that I received for my genuine efforts at making the situation a win-win situation for all sides.

So next time you have a disgruntled customer try to figure out the root of the problem, agree with the customer immediately and then work on finding an amicable solution. Be genuine in your approach.

The customer isn’t always right that’s a big misconception, but most of the time the customer does deserve the best service and highest level of attention and care especially if they are spending thousands of dollars with you.

If you make a small effort in pleasing your customers and solving their concerns which most of the time just takes proper listening, then you will gain a customer for life.

Finding new customers is costly, and customer acquisition eventually slows down, that’s why keeping your customers and retaining their business for years to come will keep your business alive and well.

Com Mirza

Investor - over 7 dozen investments, Entrepreneur 30+ companies, Global Mentor to 50k + people

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