Eventually, you will have an unhappy customer who calls to complain.  Sometimes it is a misunderstanding that can be explained quickly and sometimes the customer has resisted complaining for quite some time and has finally reached the limit of their patience.

In all cases, listening to the full explanation is critical before responding.

Recently, I called the local newspaper to complain about my delivery service.  The delivery had been unacceptable for three months and I finally reached the limit of my patience.

The customer service representative was CLEARLY reading responses to me, starting with “I’m sorry you are having this problem” followed by a scripted response.

I asked two questions:  Does your newspaper still promise delivery before 7 a.m.?  Do I have a new delivery person?  The response was complete silence, presumably while the representative was searching for the answer to read to me.

I was offered the digital version of the newspaper for the day that I called, but I CLEARLY explained my complaint was not just about TODAY, but about the LAST THREE MONTHS.

Perhaps this was not in the handbook of canned responses because I got silence again.

Finally, I said “please note my file that I have complained about my service” and ended the call.

I left the experience with more aggravation than I began.  Now I am considering cancelling my service entirely.

Hopefully your front line customer service team is sincerely devoted to customer retention.

If you have an unhappy customer:

First, listen carefully.

Second, apologize and repeat back what you understand the problem to be.

Third, if the solution is not obvious, it’s OK to ask the customer what outcomes they would like to see.  In my example, I wanted two things – a note on the file that delivery was not acceptable, and moving forward, delivery daily by 7 a.m.

Fourth, offer to touch base in the near future to make sure that the problem is solved.

Show you actually care and are not just hiring people to read scripted answers.  Make sure that your website has a place where your customers can write to you and then make sure the emails are monitored and a response sent in a timely manner.

At Mind Your Own Business, we can help with solutions to help you mind your own business better.