Satisfying the Unsatisfied Customer
Customer satisfaction has never been more important than it is in our digitally advanced societies. Have you ever wondered why this is so? The answer can be put into two words: customer reviews. This mode of giving and receiving feedback can be a company's largest asset or greatest liability, depending on how it keeps its customers satisfied.
Should a customer ever complain about your product not meeting their standards, your employees should be properly trained to assess and handle the situation elegantly. There are a series of steps that an employee should take when dealing with a complaint about a product.
Thank the Customer
First and foremost, your employee should acknowledge their complaint with respect and thank them for taking the time to bring this to their attention. There is very little that a company can do about a customer who is unhappy with their product and simply complains online through customer reviews or social media. However, the customer who does take the time to issue a complaint privately, whether online or in person, is offering your company valuable feedback. For every customer who complains, there may be dozens who are unhappy with a product and will likely switch to a competitor or give negative reviews of the product online.
Find the Error
Once their situation has been recognized and they are thanked, an employee may try to determine whether or not something is indeed wrong with your product. Usually, it will be quite clear whether something is broken or defective, however if there is an uncertainty then the employee should treat the situation as if there were something wrong with the product. This will show the customer that their complaint is being taken seriously.
If no error can be found regarding the functionality, aesthetics or performance of the product, then your employees should be prepared to politely demonstrate this to the discontented customer. Perhaps their expectations were too high and another product might suite their needs better, or perhaps the product wasn't used correctly and the complaint can be resolved.
For products that are clearly defective, your employee should be trained to be able to determine the type of error. This will ensure that they are able to prepare the return report correctly (if this applies to your firm) and also ensure that a customer isn't trying to return a product that has grown defective from wear and tear from normal usage.
Make a Decision
Your employees should receive training to prepare them to graciously accept or deny returns. There will be many cut and dry cases, but for those that are in the grey area, it is important that an employee have good judgement and a polite manner to handle a dissatisfied customer effectively.
A company that fails to accept a return or issue an exchange runs the risk of receiving poor reviews from disgruntled customers. A customer complaining online about poor quality or service can have ripple effects among other customers across the globe. Potential customers place a high value on feedback from customers who have purchased the same or similar product before them. If your product has received more negative reviews than positive, then it is unlikely that a potential customer will make the purchase.
Naturally, it will be impossible to satisfy every single customer that asks for a return or exchange. In the event that a customer's product does not qualify for a return, it is of paramount importance to maintain goodwill with them. This is achieved primarily through the behaviour of the employee dealing with their complaint. Good listening, empathizing and judgement skills are very valuable qualities in employees who regularly work in customer satisfaction roles. It may also be achieved by offering them coupons or promotional rebates in the event that their product does not qualify to be returned.
In summary, customer returns are not to be taken lightly. A small drop of unhappy customers can have large ripple effects on the purchasing patterns of potential customers. Your employees should receive the proper training to delicately navigate the process of returns all the while maintaining customer satisfaction.
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