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Customer Problems Are Opportunities to Build Guest Loyalty

publication date: Jul 27, 2013
author/source: Dr. Marc Clark, CHA, CHRE, CHE, CHO
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Customer Problems Are Opportunities

Customers who have a problem or complaint resolved are more likely to return to your place of business than customers who have had an uneventful experience. When you go above and beyond the call of duty, it creates positive word of mouth among your customers.

Take a Look Within
It is important that we have a handle on, and awareness of, our own personalities, our own possible reactions, and our limitations and abilities to assist someone who is upset.

Self-awareness and self-knowledge are very important tools, which are useful in any type of interpersonal communication. They are the prerequisites to maintaining control of situations that require both tact and diplomacy. Used properly, both of these tools lead to self-confidence.

An associate who is knowledgeable about his job and himself, is able to maintain a level of confidence and professionalism even in stressful situations. It is this consistent self-confidence that enables the maintenance of calm and composure in handling complaints or any type of conflict.

A customer complaint or problem is actually an opportunity to secure business in the future. There are a number of easy-to-follow rules for handling an upset customer.
  1. Listen. As the customer explains the problem, give the customer your complete attention and let them vent if they're angry. Listen to the entire complaint. Keep in mind that it is not you they are angry with, but the situation.
  2. Do not interrupt or jump to conclusions. Be careful not to wear your heart on your sleeve.
  3. Stay calm and professional.
  4. Accept Feelings. Be willing to accept the other person's feelings. Don't oppose them or try to defend your business or yourself.
  5. Clarify the Situation. Identify the root of the problem. (Focus on fire, not smoke.)
  6. Take Ownership. Remember, the customer's problem is your problem until it is resolved.
  7. After listening to the concern, acknowledge that there is a concern. This helps disarm some anger because you are in agreement with your customer's feelings.
  8.  Apologize. Even if it isn't your fault, let the customer know that you understand how they feel. "I'm sorry" can go a long way in helping resolve a tense situation.
Dr. Marc Clark, CHA, CHRE, CHE, CHO
 President & CEO at SmartBizzOnLine.com

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