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No one likes getting complaints from customers but the fact is that if you handle a complaint well you can make the complainer into an asset – someone who will praise your business.

OK, we all know that there are some people you can never please no matter what you do and there are some people who will make completely unreasonable complaints. For example, my wife runs an online book selling business and sells a lot of books on eBay and Amazon. Both of these sites use a system of feedback designed to give an indication of the quality of service a seller gives. It is taken seriously. Anyway one purchaser bought a book from my wife and then returned it for a refund and gave my wife negative feedback because having received the book in time and in good condition she, the purchaser, didn’t like the quality of the writing! Hmm. Not exactly the fault of the seller.

Anyway, someone like that is never going to be happy whatever you do but in reality most complaints are justified, at least to some extent, and a good business manager will know that you can learn from examining complaints properly and even better turn the complainer into a fan of the business.

What you need to do is put in place a complaint handling procedure that:

  1. Acknowledges complaints immediately;
  2.  Humanises the process so that customers never feel they are up against a faceless system;
  3. Values every customer, and takes their complaints seriously;
  4. Trains staff in how to listen, empathise, defuse anger, and discover what it will take to make the customer happy again and, having done that, also empower staff to do what the customer wants, and preferably a little bit more, without constantly requiring them to seek authorisation; and
  5. Keeps customers fully informed about what is happening – and never let complaints drag on.

The key is to show the complainer that you will put things right willingly and gladly – not grudgingly but most importantly don’t just treat the symptoms – identify and correct the causes as well.

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11 Responses to “How To Make Someone Who Complains Into a Sales Asset”

  1. Mike Milne says:

    Good post – basic but we all usually forget that if you get the basics right the rest falls into place.

  2. Simon Bates says:

    This is a very useful post and deserves to be given wider publicity so I’m going to ping it to my friends.

  3. James Green says:

    I guess you are French Canadian. Having been asked a question in Spanish which I do speak I thought I should answer in Spanish. Actually I do wonder why we say someone “speaks” a language when in my case at least I’m far better at reading and writing (Spanish and Portugese) than speaking. My ear has a hard time picking up accents so I find reading easier. As for writing, well at least then you can consider what you are going to say and check spellings etc. You can’t do that when speaking.

    Anyway, best I can do in French is to say Je suis désolé mais je parle seulement un peu français.

  4. Broker Forex says:

    Good article. Very well written

  5. Canuk_87 says:

    What’s all this about then? Can we have French or English please?

  6. Ibon says:

    Si es usted el James Green, que traducido poetas de la guerra civil?

  7. James Green says:

    Yo no hablo español muy bien, pero lo hago leer y escribir bastante bien.

  8. Ibon says:

    Usted habla español bien. ¿Por qué es eso?

  9. James Green says:

    Gracias Antonio. Muchas gracias por sus amables palabras.

  10. Antonio says:

    Muy buena información – Muchas gracias.

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