5 Ways to Handle a Client Complaint

Eric Roberts
Contributing Writer

We don’t like to hear when someone is unhappy with our products or services, especially when we work so hard to provide the best experience. However, a client complaint does offer you the perfect opportunity to dive into the mind of your audience and discover areas in need of improvement.

We have come up with five ways to turn a client complaint into a better experience for the client, an opportunity to improve your business and a learning experience for you.

1.     Address the Problem Immediately

If you know your client is unhappy don’t ignore it. Find out why they are unhappy and ask what you can do to fix the problem. Procrastination is not a good strategy here. The longer you wait, the worse it will become. Taking the initiative to address the issue will provide a solution and will let your client know that you care about their business and their satisfaction.

2.     Ask the Right Questions

Getting inside your client’s mind is like gold to a company. This is the prime opportunity to ask all the questions your can. You can’t fix a problem without getting a clear picture of what went wrong to figure out where your business fell short. Asking the right questions and listening are crucial to getting the right answers and, in turn, handling the complaint effectively.

It’s always a good idea to ask for feedback on a regular basis, even when there isn’t a problem. This information gathered from your clients is invaluable. Consider using an ongoing feedback process to get ahead of complaints before they happen.

3.     Offer a Do-Over

If it’s your products the client is unhappy with, offer them a new one at no charge to see if that fixes the problem. If they are unhappy with a specific service, revisit the services offered and see if there is another way to improve on them so that you are more in line with what your client needs and wants.

If sub-par service or communication from the company or a particular staff member is the problem, apologize for the situation and advise the third partie(s) so he/she can assess their delivery. Make sure to provide them with all the information possible so they can pinpoint where the order went wrong. It is not a bad idea to include the supervisor in on the conversation so if the issue continues to arise they will be aware and can react appropriately.

4.     Adjust the Communication Process

Not everyone communicates the same way, and it can be difficult to resolve the situation if there is not a consensus. If the problem stems from lack of communication, try a new format. If you have been handling everything through email, try making a phone call to see if you can resolve the problem voice-to-voice. After talking with your client, you can summarize the information from conversation and email that to them. This will ensure that you are both on the same page.

5.     Know How to Handle Public Complaints

There are many customer service conversations happening through social media these days. When it comes to unhappy clients expressing their complaints through a social platform, there are two no-no’s to avoid.

First, never delete the complaint from your social profile. This will only make the client feel like they are being ignored and cause them to increase their public bashing which will hurt your brand. It also sends a message to your client base that you just don’t care.

Second, don’t get into a back-and-forth conversation with an irate client in a public environment. Quickly apologize and tell the unhappy client that you want to fix the problem for them. Then, move the conversation off-line to the phone or email. With luck, you can resolve the situation and the client will them go public with how they are now happy.

Client complaints provide your business the opportunity to assess procedures to make sure the same mistake will be avoided in the future. Verify there is a process in place for handling client complaints, and that every employee follows it, so that no complaint is lost. It is imperative to follow the procedure through for each complaint, no matter how small.

A client that is complaining is one that wants to continue buying from you so provides you the opportunity to make it better. Take the complaints and learn from them. This will ensure the best experience possible for each and every interaction while generating increased business and lifetime clients.

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