We all make complaints and when we do, we often develop different and more aggressive personalities! On the telephone the caller who complains often gets more worked up than if dealing with the same matter face to face.
We are all braver when there is a telephone between us! This is because callers cannot see what is happening, or the effect their words are having.
The most important step is to thank the caller for reporting the problem, many people don’t bother to complain, they just quietly take their business elsewhere.
Here are the five golden rules for dealing with complaints
- Listen – don’t interrupt
Let them get it off their chest, eventually the caller will run out of steam. Wait until they do before you speak because by interrupting you may only give them a reason to start off again.
- Apologize – without commitment
The first thing people want to here you say is ‘I’m sorry’ But be careful not to commit your company to accepting the blame – e.g ‘I’m sorry the delivery was late’ Make sure to apologize and use their name.
- Statement, Question, Agreement
Make sure that you’ve fully understood exactly what the facts are and that they know that you understood exactly what the facts are! Asking questions demonstrates that you are interested and want to help them, summarising demonstrates that you have understood the problem.
- Tell them what you will do about it
Whatever it is, e.g ‘I’ll speak to the transport department and come back to you’. Remember communication. Try to summarize the problem the best way that you can and tell them what action you will take to solve that problem. Don’t commit to something you cannot deliver on otherwise the situation will only get worse!
- Do it!
Always follow through and make sure that you call back when you said you would even if you do not have an answer.