Dealing with a dissatisfied, disgruntled, and impossible-to-please customer isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time.
Often, remodelers seek to bring the interaction to a close as quickly as possible, even if it ends on a sour note. But according to Ron Kaufman, author of the New York Times bestseller Uplifting Service: The Proven Path to Delighting Your Customers, Colleagues, and Everyone Else You Meet, it’s worth your time and energy to put a little more effort into turning what the customer perceives as a wrong into a right. Handled sensitively, complaints can be a catalyst for improving customer satisfaction.
“It’s a foregone conclusion that despite your best efforts, some of your customers will be dissatisfied from time to time,” Kaufman says. “You have two choices. One, treat the complaining customer like he’s a pain in the neck. Or two, appreciate each complaining customer and use the complaint as an opportunity to improve.”
Additionally, Kaufman contends that one complaining customer actually represents many other customers who had the same problem but didn’t come forward.
To start the process of resolving the customer’s issue, Kaufman suggests that you thank them for their complaint and avoid being defensive. Give positive recognition by offering, “Thank you for reaching out to let us know how we can improve.” And skip lines such as, “No! That’s not what happened. You’re wrong!” Getting defensive will lead to additional problems.
Next, acknowledge what’s important to the customer. Even if you think that their complaint is unfair, there is something they value that your company didn’t deliver on. Embrace that value.
Finally, even if you can’t help the customer with their issue, apologize. Every remodeler knows the customer is not always right. And even when the customer has a point, it’s not always within the remodeler’s power to rectify the situation. But the customer is always the customer, and you should apologize for the inconvenience they believe they’ve experienced.