Part of running a successful business is ensuring your customers are happy. However, regardless of how perfect your product is or how well trained your employees are, you may have to deal with customer complaints from time to time. When that happens, it’s important to learn from the different types of complaints so that you can implement a plan to reduce them.
Some of the most common customer complaints are related to the product or service your business offers. Customer complaint examples related to products include:
- Poor product or service quality
- High price compared to competitor products
- Missing or unintuitive features
When dealing with product-related complaints, take time to understand what specifically is making the customer unhappy. If it’s a feature about which many customers complain, it might be expedient to fix the issue during production. If it’s a faulty unit, offer to replace the product.
Types of guest complaints that are related to customer service may include wait times, issues with the staff, shipping or delivery problems or poor user experience. It’s important to ensure that all customer-facing employees are properly trained and have the knowledge and tools they need to successfully interact with customers.
Front-line staff need to have strong communication, negotiation and conflict-resolution skills in order to navigate the many customer issues they deal with each day.
Complaints in Public
Some of the costliest complaints are those that happen in public. In the age of social media, it’s common for customers to air their grievances on Twitter or other social channels so other customers and prospects can see the discussion unfold. Online review platforms are another public arena where you may get a complaint.
In these cases, it’s important to keep a professional and cordial tone. Remember that the public is waiting to see how your business will react to and handle the complaint. Apologize for the issue, offer a solution and invite the customer to return to your business. When the customer is satisfied, ask him to update his review so others can see that you’ve rectified the situation.
Complaints Due to Misunderstandings
It’s important to always communicate clearly with customers to avoid miscommunication and misunderstandings. For example, if your product packaging includes an image of the product that is larger than its actual size, the customer may be disappointed to see the product itself because it looks small compared to the photo on the package. To avoid this kind of misunderstanding, many businesses choose to only use life-size imagery on their packaging.
Loyal Customer Complaints
Complaints from loyal customers should be taken very seriously so that you can continue to count on their business. A loyal customer already trusts your organization and values the product you provide. They have faith in you, which is why they keep returning. However, if they have a bad experience and make a complaint, it’s critical to rectify the issue as soon as possible so that you don’t lose their loyalty. Be sure to offer them an incentive for returning to your business.
Reducing the Different Types of Complaints
The best way to reduce the number of complaints your business sees is by creating and implementing a customer service strategy. Train your employees to ensure they are well-equipped to deal with customers and diffuse tense situations. Reward employees for their good behavior so they are engaged and committed to keeping customers satisfied. Establish customer loyalty plans with incentives to encourage them to return to your business.
Most importantly, learn from your mistakes. If you notice a trend in customer complaints, then use it as a opportunity to make a change.
For example, if you routinely hear complaints about the wait times at check out, you may benefit from training your cashier to work more productively or adding a second cash register. Customers appreciate when businesses take their feedback into account because it shows them that their opinion is valued.
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.