January 5, 2012

Part of good customer service is to respond well to any complaints. Solving problems is one of the key sales process steps. Fix problems immediately, and customers are more likely to want to conduct business with you again.

A good sales person will see a complaint as a chance to create goodwill, and to win loyalty. And it’s that loyalty that can spark other opportunities with the customer, or with their connections.
Put yourself in the clients shoes… they’re experiencing difficulty (real or perceived) and they want to know that it will be handled. Follow these ten steps and you can make something positive out of what could be a touchy situation.


The 10 steps:

1) See the complaint through… the first person to hear about it should stay with the issue until it’s resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.
2) Thank them for notifying you… show them you appreciate and acknowledge the situation.
3) Engage in reflective listening… repeat the complaint in your own words to show you truly heard them.
4) Ask for details. When they explain – listen with empathy and allow them to vent. Take notes.
5) Keep your ears open and your mouth closed… don’t interrupt or argue, even if the the complaint seems unfounded.
6) Make the customer feel better by offering soothing comments or apologies.
7) Solicit their input. Ask them how they would like to see the issue handled.
8) Offer a verbal commitment to solve the problem.
– “I’ll fix it today”, or “I’ll get back to you right away” gives them something to hold on to.
9) Follow up, complete the cycle of problem-solving.
– confirm it was solved quickly and to the customers approval
– explain any preventive measures now be taken.

  • reaffirm your commitment to their needs
  • Offer something extra if possible.

10) Prevent similar problems from occuring by taking action internally.
Just as in any relationship, listening and responding to your customer’s concerns using these sales process steps will help keep the connection healthy and productive.
Next week, we will take a look at customer feedback.