Deal with a difficult customer properly.

In real dollars, how much will it cost you?
We all have to deal with difficult customers.
"Everyone gets customers who have unrealistic expectations - don't they?"
Well, yes they do.
It's just that, few business people understand what's at stake, when a customer complains.

What are the facts about dealing with a difficult customer complaint?
The facts are that:
* 73% of people will tell you if they are dissatisfied
* 48% of the most serious problems are sales and delivery related
* 52% of those who don’t complain believed it wouldn’t help to contact you.
But it doesn’t stop there. The most disturbing facts are:
* 66% of those who do complain are not satisfied with the way their complaint was handled
* 90% of those who are dissatisfied will not purchase from you again
* Each dissatisfied complainant is likely to tell 9 others of their bad

The simple fact is you are probably pushing profits out the door if you don’t
have an effective complaint handling policy, or staff who are not trained to
handle complaints.

How do I deal with a difficult customer?

The following steps will help you and your staff deal with a disgruntled
* Listen. Understand exactly what the problem is and let the customer know they have your full attention.
* Acknowledge the problem. Complaining can be difficult. Being sympathetic and calm will help alleviate the customer’s stress.
* Address the customer’s needs. Tell the customer you want to help improve the situation. Ask how they would like to proceed.
* Communicate honestly. Decide what can be done to fix the problem and tell them.
* Follow-up. Contact the customer within an agreed time-frame to ensure the problem was resolved.

How do I set up effective complaint handling policy and procedures?
Consider the following:
* involve your staff in developing your policy and procedures. You'll be surprised with the suggestions they come up with.
Remember, if your staff are part of developing the policy - they will own it as their own and act act on it.
* think of all the possible things that could happen and work out potential
* establish a policy and procedures manual - Yes, that means write it down! In the future you'll have to refer back to it.
* record your policy and procedures, circulate to staff and train them
* let your customers know they can provide feedback or make a complaint.
Rather than being a negative, this is actually a great selling tool. It takes
away the buyers fear of loss.
* clearly publicise your contact details.
True Story.
My daughter bought a laptop from an online trader. The item was faulty and she
wanted to return it for repair under warantee.
The company only had a cell phone / mobile number. That was for the sales guy,
who said the service department didn't have a number. "You'll have to do
everything by email" !
After insulting emails from the so called 'service' department they had to pay
$30 to have their laptop returned to them (without being repaired!)
* keep a record of all formal complaints.
You never know when you will need records to justify your actions in the event of a claim against you.
I hope this helps as you deal with a difficult customer,
Till next time,
© Paul Johnson 2013
Missing Piece Marketing
Call:  0407 261 900 (+61 407 261 900 outside Australia - Please consider the time zones :-)
p.s. I run customer complaint handling training sessions.
Yes, in groups.
Yes, by Skype.
And no, it's not as expensive as losing 9 potential clients from just one
unhappy customer.
Call / email me


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