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OBJECTIVESAt the end of this training session, you will be able to: Identify reasons why a complaint is a gift from the customer to the service provider Note what to expect from customers when they make complaints Identify how to handle customer complaints Learn strategies to redeem yourself when you have failed in providing the customer the level of expected service
CONTENTWhat is a Complaint?Identifying A Complaint As A GiftSteps For Handling Customer ComplaintsService Recovery ProcessHandling Difficult Customers
What is a Complaint?“An expression of dissatisfaction made to anorganization, related to its products orservices, or the complaints-handling processitself, where a response or resolution is explicitlyor implicitly expected” 5
Why do customers complain?Their expectations have not been met!To release their angerTo help improve the serviceBecause of concern for others who also use theservice 6
Why do customers complain?What proportion of unhappy customers complain? Generally 9% to 37% of unhappy customers make complaints to the firms. The rest never bother to complainWhy don’t unhappy customers complain? They think it is not worth the time or effort. They further think that no one would be concerned about their problem or solve it. They do not know where to go or what to do. Each happy customer will tell at least six other people
Most common complaints...Wrong informationPoor customer service attitudeOverpricingLack of adequate informationDelaysUnresponsiveness of serviceproviders…. ……
The customer is not always right but...The customer is always the customer and this means simplythat solving the problem is often more important than whois right.If you can solve their problem without blaming yourself orothers, you will reduce stress, everyone will feel better and you will be on your way to attaining CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
Is a complaint a gift? Why?Complaints are gift packages waiting to beopened because they: Are given freely Are not solicited by the recipient organization Are unexpected…they come as a surprise (usually) Hold the key to happiness for the recipient organization If they are well handled 11
Is a complaint a gift? Why?A complaint gives you: Free direct communication from the customer about service failures, competitors offerings etc. without the added cost of conducting a survey Readily available market research: they define what customers want 12
Is a complaint a gift? Why? A complaint gives you the opportunity to: Increase customer trust Build long term relationships- customers will use your services again if they believe complaints are welcomed and addressed Rectify service failures Engage customers as advocates
Is a complaint a gift? Why?If a customer is complaining, you are being given a chance to retain that customer 14
The customer’s needs when they complainThe customer has 2 separate needs when complaining- needs relating to the complaint needs as individuals andExample 1 Complaint – the product is not working as expected Underlying message – I don’t understand the new technology, I need helpExample 2 Complaint- I was disappointed with the service during my last visit Underlying message – I am testing the value you place on my loyalty to your business 15
The customer’s needs when they complainNeeds relating to the complaint To have their concern dealt with quickly, fairly and properly To be given what they have been denied and perhaps an apology To have action taken to rectify a problem or address a concern- a resultant process changeNeeds as individuals To be heard To be understood To be respected 16
When the customer’s need is met… You automatically Engage your Customer as your Advocate!Who is your advocate??? A person who publicly supports or recommends you Someone who speaks, or argues in your favor 17
SESSION 3Steps for Handling Customer Complaints
How to Handle Customer Complaints How do you react to customer complaints about the way you do your work? Especially when you think you are doing your best??? People react to customer complaints in different ways… Some Ignore complaints Become defensive Become angry or annoyed Are concerned about the loss of trade or the damage to their professional reputation 19
How to Handle Customer Complaints For others, it is A hindrance They just wish the customer would go away! Or They do not believe some or all of what the customer is complaining about. These reactions are as a result of blame being attributed to us or our organization.
How to Handle Customer ComplaintsIn making complaints, some customers portray the followingcharacteristics Lack of gracious social skills to communicate properly Nervousness Harshness Very Emotional Lack understanding of you or your organization’s limitations Rudeness Unreasonableness We need to learn to expect such behaviour and remember however that a complaint is evidence that, in the customer’s view, we have not met their expectations. 21
How to Handle Customer ComplaintsListen Remember not to take itRepeat personallyApologise Remain calmAcknowledge Focus on the problemExplain action and not personThank Turn unhappy people into happy customersFollow up
How to Handle Customer Complaints Address customers by name All communication should be in the first person. Use “I am sorry” not “we” Don’t make excuses or blame others in your organization Give the customer your full attention and establish eye contact Paraphrase their complaint in your own words to determine whether you have correctly understood the situation.
How to Handle Customer Complaints If you don’t know the answer to their problem, don’t lie. Call back when you say you will, even if for some reason, you haven’t been able to obtain a satisfactory answer by then Make the customer part of the solution not part of the problem
How to handle customer complaints Don’t be defensive Be composed at all times Don’t take criticisms personally Offer an apology even if the disservice is not your fault Show empathy by using such phrases as: “I can understand how you feel”, “I appreciate what you’re saying.”
How to Handle Customer Complaints Tell them what you can do…not what you can’t do Find out what it will take to turn their dissatisfaction into satisfaction If they agree to that solution, act quickly before they change their mind Follow up And remember: You can never win an argument with a customer
Steps for handling complaintsAt the organization’s level, there is the need for a complaint handling system whichwill involve the following steps as a minimum:Acknowledge It is important that you acknowledge the receipt of allreceipt of the complaints, verbal or written. Preferably allocate a complaint referencecomplaint number and provide the customer with a contact point for further correspondence.Accurately record Make sure that your recorded version of the complaint matches exactlycomplaint what the customer said. Also make sure that the complaint record isinformation and accessible by any branch of the organization that the customer maymake it accessible contact.Attach The company should attempt to resolve complaints on firsttimeframes for contact, but if this is not possible, then a complaint should be finalizedresolution of within a specific number of days eg. 30 days.complaint
Steps for handling complaintsCustomers mustbe informed As soon as you realizes that they are unable to resolve aabout any delays complaint within the given timeframe, contact thein resolving a customer, and inform advising him/ her of the delay and set acomplaint new timelineMake staff awareof complaint The complaint handling procedures should be known to allhandling employees and be part of regular trainingproceduresInform CustomersOf Complaint Posting your complaint handling procedures on your officeHandling premises is a good way to inform customers. Also theseProcedures procedures may be incorporated in the organisation’s brochure
Find out what your customers really think… HOW? THROUGH Surveys, focus groups, mystery shopping One complaint statistically represents 24 similar ones
What is service recoveryService recovery is how you remedy a failed serviceencounter with a customer. In other words, pull a customer from hell to heaven in the shortest possible time. It involves: apologizing, solving the problem, compensating the customer with something of value
Service recovery95% of customers who have a complaint that washandled efficiently and promptly will not onlycontinue to do business but will become evenmore loyal (Wharton Business School)So how do you make amends or appease thecustomer? Through product replacements, good will gifts, free of charge services, etc…
Some important statisticsOnly 4% of dissatisfied customers complain. 96% leavewithout any communication to the businessOf the 96% who leave, 91% will never returnA typical dissatisfied customer will tell 8 to 10 peopleabout the issues with your business1 in 5 dissatisfied customers will tell 20 people about theissues with your businessIt takes 12 positive service incidents to make up for onenegative incident 33
Some important statistics7 out of 10 complaining customers will do business withagain you if you resolve the complaint in their favourOf complaining customers, 95% will do business with youagain if you resolve the complaint at the first contactOn average, a satisfied complainer will tell 5 people abouttheir problem and how it was solvedIt costs 6 times more to attract new customers than itdoes to retain current onesCustomer loyalty is worth 10 times the price of a singlepurchase “How to win and Keep Customers” – Michael LeBoeuf 34
Handling Difficult CustomersWho is a difficult customer? How do you handle such people?
Types of Difficult CustomersAngry SarcasticNasty ArgumentativeDemandingCriticalNon-stop TalkerIndecisive
Why Are They Difficult?They are often expressing They are difficult for theira need but chose an own reasons –appropriate and impolite not because of youway to communicate thisneed
Common Reasons For Being Difficult tired or frustrated don’t understand confused or in bad mood overwhelmed in a hurry defending their ego other reasons….. unfamiliar with situation feel ignored under influence of drink or drugs
How Do I Deal With Difficult Customers?“this job would be very good if it weren’t for thedifficult people I have to deal with everyday” Approach them professionally and not personally Taking things personally can damage your professional reputation Listen for the signals that you are taking things personally
How Do I Deal With Difficult Customers?Check you customer service attitude Attitude is the key to success Attitude is your mental position on facts - or more simply, the way you view things
How Do I Deal With Difficult Customers?Five points about your attitude affectsattitude: everyone who comes in your attitude towards contact with you customers influences tone and body language your behaviour. You reflect your attitude cannot always your attitude is not fixed. camouflage how you feel The attitude you choose your attitude determines to display is up to YOU the level of job satisfaction
How Do I Deal With Difficult Customers?Remind yourself! Reinforce this by saying… This is my job and I’m “I like the job, not going to do it because it’s easy, not professionally because there are no If it were not for these difficult people, not customers I would not because there are no have a job frustrations but because Every time I solve a people are part of any job problem I will feel better and I can make things easier by taking things professionally
SummaryBe positiveTake things professionally and not personallyAim for customer satisfaction, not just serviceSolve problems without blaming yourself or othersRemember attitudes are caught, not taught