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  • Lisa Evans

Managing Customer Complaints

You pour a patio, a pool surround, or a driveway. The customer seemed pleased, you thought you did a good job, and you moved on to the next project. A week or a month later, there is a complaint. Sometimes customers are unhappy. Whether you feel the customer is justified in their complaint or not, how you handle the complaint will make all the difference. According to a recent study, 13% of unhappy customers will share their complaints with 15 or more people. You can avoid negative reviews by carefully handling customer complaints.

Always acknowledge the customer complaint immediately and listen to your customer. Ask questions to clarify the issue. Be careful not to challenge the customer or make the customer feel at fault, even when the customer is wrong. Use phrases like “I understand,” “I see your point,” and “I’m here to make this right.” Offer a sincere apology. Do not say “I’m sorry you felt...” or similar phrasing. It attempts to remove you and your company from blame.

Once you fully understand the problem, offer a resolution only if you are sure this course of action will satisfactorily resolve the issue. If not, give the customer a realistic estimate of when you will present your resolution. You might say, “I’d like to meet with my team and get back to you by the end of the week with a solution I think will meet your requirements.”

Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Be apologetic and respectful. You are also a customer in your personal and business lives. Treat your customer complaints as you would like your suppliers and vendors to treat you when you have a complaint. Not every complaint will be satisfactorily resolved. However, carefully managing a dissatisfied customer will likely earn you a loyal customer and avoid any negative online reviews.

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