Don't Worry, Be Happy: Turning Complaints into Happy Customers

Customer complaints may be inevitable, but with these tips, you can make sure customers leave happy.

By: Victoria Richardson

The customer is always right. Right? While this motto may not always ring true, it's always true that you want your customer to walk away happy. To achieve this, improving your ability to deal with stressful situations will go a long way toward making a return customer out of someone who might have initially approached you with a complaint.

Here are some tips to consider as you encounter a customer who isn’t completely happy:

  • Don’t argue. Regardless of the customer's concerns, challenging him or her will never win you points—and it may just make the customer walk away for good. It could also lead to negative reviews for you and your company. Show empathy, stay calm, and aim for middle ground by suggesting solutions that are a win-win.
  • Listen intently. The quickest way to make the situation worse is to seem like you aren't attentive to what the customer cares about. Listening carefully will allow you to address the problem immediately without having to ask too many questions (but don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions and repeat what you heard the customer say to ensure you understood them). Hear what’s going on and figure out the best way to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.
  • Apologize. Whether or not you think an apology is warranted, the one thing you must do is say that you’re sorry—on behalf of both yourself and your company. You can apologize for both the problem itself and the customer’s frustration. A little humility goes a long way toward making someone feel that they’re being heard and that you care.
  • Find a solution. Even if the situation can’t be resolved exactly as the customer desires, your job is to handle things appropriately and ensure the customer does not leave upset. The solution you arrive at should be as close as possible to the outcome the customer desires. Never leave your customer in a worse situation than you encountered when you arrived, and always strive to walk away with not only the problem resolved but the customer feeling as if he or she was understood and attended to thoroughly. It also helps to ask the customer “Do you feel that I have addressed your concerns? Is there anything else I can do to earn your business?” This way, you can leave the conversation knowing that everything has been resolved.

You may not always be able to do exactly what the customer wants, but if you leave them wanting more service from your company in the future, you’ve made a connection that will last a lifetime.

For more advice on handling customer issues and complaints (or better yet, helping to prevent them), check out these tips for the ideal customer service timeline, and a customer service checklist. Whatever you do, remember to put the customer first.

Victoria Richardson is the Sales and Marketing Manager for HVAC Learning Solutions.

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