Competition has never been like this before. Anyone with the ability to use the internet can reach out to customers worldwide and offer services cheaper than you and in all probability even better than you. You may be very good but you certainly aren’t the only one who can offer the services that you do. Customers today have more options and are much more demanding.
There are two types of customers
Those that complain in the hope that you respond and will do better next time.
These are better as they give you an opportunity to correct yourself. Perhaps they remember the good services you offered in the past and do not want to move away from you if you are willing to change.
Those that don’t and quietly move on to another provider without saying anything unpleasant to you.
Most of your clients fall in the second category. You wonder why they haven’t come back. You presume they may not need such services any more or were just one or two project customers till you find them advertising for the same services you once rendered to them.
It is for this reason you must realize that the most important thing that you have to handle is a complaint. The moment you receive a complaint your whole organization should sit up and listen. Handling a complaint is more urgent than the most urgent job of the day. The reason is that there is a dissatisfied customer out there whose trust you haven’t been able to keep and every moment he may be seething with anger or anxiety waiting for your response. Every minute his trust in you must be reducing. And bad news travels fast. People talk more about what went wrong compared to what went right as the normal expectation is that all will be right.
What to do with a complaint
As soon as you receive a complaint, acknowledge it, aplogize and promise to revert in a stipulated time. Don’t wait to enquire into the details and then give a reply with facts.
Register it for analysis and record
Complaints must be recorded, dealt with, lessons drawn and analyzed from different angles.
Accept it gacefully, don’t go into denial. Most people and organizations react negatively to a complaint. They go into a self defensive mode of denial and tend to find excuses or fault with the client. They have at hand many examples when they found that the customer had not read the instructions carefully and it was finally found that the fault lay with the customer.
Respond with immediate action
Drop everything, fix it in stipulated time, apologize and compensate.
Apart from solving the client’s problem, it is important to apologize for the trust you have not been able to live upto for whatever reason in or out of your control. You should also be willing to compensate financially for the hardship caused to your client as this shows your genuine concern and willingness to undergo pain for your mistakes.
Make a lot of noise, get everyone concerned together and make them realize that complaint is a serious thing.
Do a root cause analysis; learn from it
Every complaint is an opportunity to learn how you can improve your systems, control of your processes, and quality of service. Do a root cause analysis and examine what you need to do so that such an error never recurrs.
Know person responsible, the doer and the checker
Your documentation should make it possible for you to trace the doer and the checker. It would be a good idea to ascertain if the problem is repetitive and is specific to a person, process, machine or a client.
If repeat mistake take apropriate action
If a complaint is due to negligence, is from one person and is repetitive, you may need to take appropriate action.
An inqury about status of order is half a complaint
If a client has to ask you about the status of an order or project, consider it to be half a complaint. The customer should never be left in a state of anxiety or nervousness about what is happening to his project. It is your responsibility to communicate transparently with your client as often as you can, even with an end of day report.
If you report delays or problems ahead of time, your customer can take corrective action. Communication is the biggest confidence builder.
Mr. Ashok Gupta
Mr. Ashok Gupta , management consultant, digital media specialist and a published author is a chemical engineer from Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, with over 30 years experience in senior management positions and as a management consultant in reputed companies in Supply Chain/General Management/ Techno-Commercial areas in India and Indonesia.
He has an international management exposure having worked and undertaken consultancy assignments in USA, India and Indonesia . He is running a highly successful business of Digital Marketing including Social Media Marketing VA International http:www.virtual-assistance-international.com since last 10 years. In addition he has a company offering digital marketing courses in classes at Vadodara and also online.
Skype ID: ashok1082
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