Delivering customer service

Every business has a basic obligation to provide its customers with quality goods or services. That is quality in the sense of delivering what you say or on a promise. It is the business’s responsibility to make sure they are not selling shoddy or unsafe products or services. However, whilst a business would like every customer to be fully satisfied with its products or services, the reality is that sooner or later everyone is going to have some unhappy customers.

It is sometimes reassuring to dismiss dissatisfied customers as chronic complainers, but try to think of complaints or questions as an opportunity to improve your products, services, and performance. By developing a customer feedback and complaint-handling procedure, you can turn negative situations into opportunities to build customers for life. In your complaint program, incorporate some or all of the following principles:

As a first step acknowledge customers concerns. Regardless of how a problem has arisen, simple recognition of a concern will make the resolution process far more effective.

Saying “we’re sorry” is an important first step in letting customers know you care when they have a problem.

Don’t blame the customer
When you blame a customer, they see it as a personal attack. Often misunderstandings are due to businesses creating false expectations in the minds of their customer.

Admit your errors and solve the problem
Every business makes mistakes. Be determined to get to the root of the problem, make it better for the customer, and prevent the problem occurring again.

Refrain from using the excuse “it’s company policy”
No phrase is more dismissive, making your customer feel powerless and intimidated. The first step in any resolution is to place the customer and you on equal ground.

Empower employees to solve minor problems
When you do this you will have happier staff and you could save your customers a bureaucratic nightmare.

Encourage feedback
Make it easy for customers to let you know how they feel. Providing feedback cards to customers allows them to rate your products or services. It also gives them a chance to let you know what you’re doing right.

Don’t win the battle and lose the war
Trying to save a few dollars but losing a customer is penny wise and pound foolish. There may be a small percentage of customers who will take advantage of you, but the majority will be even more loyal if they know you’ll fix problems.

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