If you have any sort of customer service experience, being told ‘the customer is always right’ is probably familiar to you. We discuss complaint handling and why even when the customer is wrong, they’re right.

Is it true that the customer is always right? No of course not, but the phrase is more about how you respond to a customer who isn’t happy with your service.

TOP TIP: If you receive the dissatisfaction via social media and it involves personal information or a complex situation, respond publically to engage with the customer but offer to take the conversation to a private channel such as email or a phone call to resolve.

Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word12 Days of Social Media Christmas The Customer is Always Right

Saying sorry shouldn’t be difficult. In fact, it should be the first thing on your mind when a customer expresses their disappointment.

Even if you don’t agree with the customer this doesn’t mean you can’t say sorry. Letting the customer know you regret that they feel let down by your business shows empathy and opens a dialogue to resolve the customer’s issues.

Complaint Resolution

The key to resolving a customer’s dissatisfaction is to do it quickly and efficiently. For broken products or lost items, refunding or reordering should be straightforward.

For the more serious complaints where an investigation is required then it’s important to gather information from the customer to get the full extent of the situation as well as the customer’s expectations of how to resolve. If more time is needed then be sure to keep the customer informed and provide a reasonable timescale. For the customer, not knowing what is going on could cause further frustration and may escalate the complaint further.

Remember these six steps when you receive a complaint:

  1. Listen – Make notes of what was discussed
  1. Empathise – Put yourself in the customer’s shoes
  1. Apologise – Some customers may just want to hear you say sorry
  1. Offer a resolve – Agree with the customer a way of moving forward
  1. Take Action – Quickly and efficiently
  1. Follow-up – Once resolved make sure the customer has no further questions or concerns

Going Over and Above

It should go without saying that when a product or service isn’t up to scratch and a refund is due then this is processed quickly and without complication.

In cases that are more serious it may be appropriate to go over and above the customer’s expectations. Examples of this could be to offer a discount on the customer’s next purchase, offer an additional product or even send a gift as a way of saying sorry for the inconvenience your business has caused.

Deciding on when and how to go over and above is really up to you. It’s important not to do it in the hope the customer will tweet about how kind and great you are. Only commit to this sort of action if you genuinely feel your business has let the customer down. Authenticity is crucial when running a business and this is no less important when handling dissatisfaction.

Have you had a great response to a complaint you’ve made? Let us know in the comments

Phil is the Digital Account Manager for Team Organic. With a background in business banking and a passion for Social Media he takes his job seriously with a cheeky smile on his face!