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09 April 2009



A business can swing dramatically from positive to negative and back, all within a day. Complaints about your company’s services or product mostly come as asurprise since people rarely set outto disappoint or offend. Not only do salespeople have to manage their own experiences, they also have to create experiences to give the customers confidence in the product. And not just at the moment of purchase, but to be satisfied even when they explain their expenditure to family and friends. There are many instances where the customers become dissatisfied or unconvinced as they are swayed by the objections of people important to them. That’s also when complaints come in. There are many innovative ways to handle complaints. There was a company which was getting so many calls about their lack of service that the complaints department was up in arms. The staff felt unsupported by the sales-people. So they suggested the sales department handle the complaints to personally experience the consequences of their performance. As a result, the salespeople had direct feedback, became familiar with handling objections, and had the opportunity to listen, rectify past failings, and change their techniques. This strategy helped them to understand the customers, and provided practical information about things that went wrong. Sales training became more relevant, and the number of complaints decreased. Whwn customers complaints, they want to be heard and attended to immadiately. They need to be able to expres themselves and feel what they say is important and matters to you. An apology and acceptance of their views are also in order. Respect during this process is crucial, and can be demonstrated by:
• Being confident in your ability to handle the objections
• Accepting their points of view
• Allowing customers the space and time to have their say
• Creating an environment for the customer that is warm and supportive
• Resolving the dilemma as soon as possible
• Reassuring that their concerns are legitimate (the customer is always right!)
• Asking for their suggestions and how to succesfully resolve the situation
• Asking what other service you could perform for them
• Accepting returns, exchanges, or refund, and then doing more!
• Apologizing for the inconvinience
• Thanking them for their feedback
• Appreciating their feedback because it allows your company to improve its services.

After resolving the customer’s complaint, follow up a month later. Contact him or her to see how things are going. Feedback is vital. Once you have established a relationship that is open to it, maintain it. Comments from such individuals are honest, direct, and free, unlike ambigious result from expensive questionnaires. These people are your prefered customers. You have a commitment to them! They will challenge you to give better services. If you satisfy them, they will become your greatest advocates. However, if you handle things badly, it may cost you a relationship, when your customer complains, don’t :
• Blame someone else “Its not my fault….”
• Give excuses, “It’s our busy time of the year”
• Put them off “Leve it with me, and I’ll get back to you”
• Make them feel bad because they complained ”Perhaps you didn’t read the instruction manual!”
• Grovel “Our service has been really sloppy, I feel really dreadful.”

It is important to actively seek feedback by continuing to follow up on customers to see how your sevice can be improved. Today’s profits are already spent. It is tomorrow’s budget you want to protect.

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