Customers today are more knowledgeable and have higher expectations than ever before.
Quality customer relations practices are crucial to the success of any business. With the many facets that go into planning management and implementation of your customers’ expectations, it’s equally important not to forget to include dealing with customer complaints.
Customer complaints are a fact of life. Managing them well is what will define you and your business.
So let’s assume you effectively manage your customers’ expectations. Now let’s focus on those dreaded customer complaints.
Have you got a policy? If not, you need one.
Why a customer complaint policy?
Some customers are habitual whingers. Sadly, you don’t know who they are until they become a customer, however being prepared is the most effective and professional way of dealing with consummate and legitimate customer complaints.
A written complaint handling policy is a good way to ensure complaints are taken seriously and dealt with appropriately and consistently. It also helps to support your staff and to ensure they understand your philosophy relating to customer complaints.
From the customer perspective, they want to report complaints easily, they want their complaints acknowledged, and dealt with quickly, fairly and sensitively.
Here are some tips for drafting your customer complaint policy:
- Involve your staff in creating your policy.
- Ensure staff know your policy and how to treat complaints fairly. Poor complaint handling (for example, blaming the customer for the problem, or marginalising them by saying no one else has complained), will only worsen the problem.
- Make it easy for all customers to complain.
- Decide which staff have authority to resolve a complaint and make sure they know what to do. Don’t allow complaints to escalate to someone higher in the business. Customers simply become even more dissatisfied.
- Set a time frame to respond to a complaint. Keep it to a minimum.
- Give one person the responsibility for managing the complaint from beginning to end.
- Review your policy regularly, and make changes as necessary.
What should your complaints policy include?
- An explanation of why your business welcomes complaints.
- Who the policy covers and who is authorised to resolve complaints.
- Definition of a complaint.
- A commitment to quick, fair and confidential complaint handling (set timelines for complaint handling and keeping customers informed)
- How to log complaints (explain the complaint procedure and what to do about complaints).
- List acceptable ways to resolve complaints.
- How to deal with unresolved complaints.
- Where customers can get further help.
Your complaints policy should be reviewed regularly and updated if necessary and it must be supported and signed by you, the business owner.
"Ask your customers to be part of the solution, and don't view them as part of the problem."
Alan Weiss, Author, Million Dollar Consulting
At Business Strategies for Tradesmen, we can help you develop your customer complaints strategy.
For a free, no obligation first consultation, call Athol Bailey on 0418 177 947 or go to www.businessstrategiesfortradies.com.au
With you in every success,