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How do you handle complaints?
Social Media Marketing is built on the basis of first creating a rapport with people and then converting those people into clients after they learn to know like and trust you. If problems arise it is very important to remember that the relationship must always come first or the customer will feel duped.
When someone becomes upset about a product or service you provided and they call you to discuss the problem you have two choices. You can honor your refund policy with grace, dignity and respect and thus maintain the bond between you and your customer or you can make the customer feel guilty and feel like they have done something wrong because they are displeased and then honor the refund policy.
It is amazing to me that anyone would pick the second choice when they are only shooting themselves in the foot but after interviewing many people I have found out it happens all the time. Why would you try to make them feel like a failure? Everyone HATES to feel like a failure and once they do they NEVER want to put in that situation again so that means they won’t ever be calling you again.
Now you might say good so what if you feel like they were unreasonable but the fact of the matter is, you have a lot more to lose than one client. You have all their friends and family to lose as well and remember because of the Internet they have a lot more friends than they used to. Potentially thousands on Facebook and Twitter and other social networks.
These are my proposals for handling these sticky situations with grace and honesty. Maybe when it happens to you, you will be able to turn this impending difficult situation into a positive one for your company.
- Respond as quickly as humanly possible to any complaints. Sometimes that’s all that it takes to prevent the need for a refund. Even if you feel like you have provided the best possibly service maybe your systems failed for this client. Always assume they are right.
- Do what you say you will do – If you promise to be available for a call BE AVAILABLE, if you make an appointment to talk KEEP THE APPOINTMENT. In other words treat the client with the same respect that you would like to receive.
- Apologize for the problems and accept complete responsibility. Trust me your client will be able to tell when you are faking the concern so you must truly believe what you are saying.
- Offer to make it right. Do what is necessary to solve the dilemma and ask the all important question, what can I do to make you feel good about this? Can I fix the problem?
- If the answer is no, accept the fact that trust has been irreparably damaged and don’t blame the client for their feelings. Accept their decision with with poise and quickly offer the promised refund.
- If appropriate, you might ask the client to tell you what they might have done differently so that this problem would not be an issue for future customers. Again your attitude is so important here. They will feel your intention so if you can’t do this without tying to transfer blame to the client skip this step because you will do more harm than good.
- Follow through immediately and process the refund ASAP
If you follow all the steps outlined above there is a very good possibility that the customer will continue to feel good about you and your services and they still might refer others to you in the future. Later they might actually recognize that the reason this did not work out was really no one’s fault but only because the timing was off for both of you.
Social Media has given everyone an equal voice in the market and it has made our enormous world tiny again. Word does get around at the speed of light so how you act in response to complaints is more critical than ever.
Until next time,have a wonderful day
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