Handling Customer Complaints

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As a business manager to survive in this competitive market, you need to determine the problem and offer a quick resolution to the problem, and that’s what is called the product market fit. Business managers need to have the unique ability to get their product or services in the front of customers and get them to buy it.

Now the buck does not stop here; the goal is not only to make the sale but be by the customer’s side, even after the product is sold, In short after sales services are as important as making the sale. In all businesses, one of the biggest chunks of the cost is the customer acquisition cost, and that is recovered over a period. The greater the lifetime value of a client in proportion to the customer’s acquisition cost, the more you need to worry about customer churn rate. Customer complaints are the start of the churning process most of the times. There are many triggers for making a customer unhappy, few common reasons why the clients complain are:

The service rendered or the goods delivered are not what they had expected.

The client may feel that he/she is being ignored, or you are treating their needs indifferently.

The customer relationship team might not be taking them seriously

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Dealing with clients and their complaints are equivalent to carrying a 100-pound sack of rocks on your back, however, you need to resolve it, and that’s the only way to grow and be successful. Here are few tips from my experience in running and managing customer-centric business lines.

To start with, a one to one approach and efficient communication with the clients will help you in understanding the customer’s side of the story

You need to be patient, and listen sympathetically to the client; the client is looking for empathy from you

Whatever it maybe, you need to honour their perspective because the way to customer’s satisfaction is by making them feel that they are being heard

If you have goofed up, don’t rationalize and complicate the matter. Say sorry and take the blame, refund the money if you can

Resolve the issue as early as possible and make sure the problem is not escalated or the customer is left hanging mid-air.

You need to be realistic in your approach and don’t make false promises, be practical and offer what can be done realistically and repeatedly for others as well

After the things are sorted follow up and ask for feedback, and you might as well give them discount on the next purchase, you would know if you have been able to retain the customer or not

After the complaint is resolved, you should learn from your mistake, and work on identifying the cause of the problem so that it does not get repeated in the future with other customers

There is 2X more chance of a client posting negative feedback on the social network than a positive one, so it is important that you don’t let the issue escalate by ignoring the complaint. If this was not enough, the negative feedback from the clients has an 86% chance of influencing other customers as well. Now that can wreck your business pipeline.

Make sure you’re on top of the customer complaints, as a business manager, the complaints should land directly on your desk; this cannot be delegated. Ensure that you have the tools to manage customer complaints, leverage technology and set up an online complaint management system like Zen desk or Zoho; a complaint management tool will ensure that you don’t end up missing a complaint.

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Offering excellent after sales service is the key element in reducing your customer churn rate, it is only after one or two years that you start making a profit on a client and recoup the client acquisition cost, that is incurred upfront. And foremost of all, you need to make your clients feel comfortable when they complain, don’t make them feel guilty.

Jappreet Sethi

CEO YoStartups

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