How your company responds to customer complaints can make or break your business. When handled properly, they can be an opportunity for growth and strengthen the relationship you have with your customer base. On the other hand, doing the wrong thing can mean losing valuable business and falling into dangerous patterns.
Struggling to Navigate Customer Complaints? Here’s what you need to know.
Do: Listen actively to what your customer has to say
Seems obvious, right? Oftentimes, sales associates are not equipped to listen skillfully to customer complaints. They don’t make an attempt to find out what the problem is or to understand how they can fix it. Train your team to listen actively to complaints.
That means that they should always:
- Wait until the customer is done speaking before they form a response
- Have open body language to show that they are listening
Don’t: Dismiss or downplay the customer’s concerns.
Every complaint (however petty or inconsequential it may seem to you) is a big deal. If a customer is concerned about the integrity of the service your shop provides them, you should take it seriously. It is important that you take every step to keep your customers satisfied and, especially in the auto industry, to protect yourself and your business against claims that you are doing a bad job. After all, a small customer complaint, if unaddressed, could result in deadly business consequences down the road.
Don’t: Get defensive
It can be tempting to try to protect your staff and your company against complaints even at the expense of valuable customers. Try to avoid this temptation. It is important that you make an effort to see your customer’s point of view, understand their complaints, and try to see the bigger picture. Remember, your ultimate goal is to make your customers feel valued and ensure that you remain their first choice for tire and repair needs.
Do: Go the extra mile to repair relationships and resolve issues
It’s not enough to resolve a customer complaint; you need to repair the damage that has been done to your relationship and proactively work to prevent future issues. After you’ve taken steps to fix the issue at hand, do your best to flip the situation into a positive experience for a customer.
For example, if they come in to complain about a set of tires that they purchased from you, not only should you offer to inspect the tires (and replace them if the complaint is credible), you could also consider offering them a discount on a future service to show them that you value their business.
Do: Use complaints as an opportunity to improve your business
Every customer complaint is an opportunity to review your practices and improve your company. Always take the time to closely examine complaints and figure out what you can do to prevent them from happening again. This could mean providing additional training for staff, changing vendors on problematic material, or something else entirely.
Complaints are inevitable, but they don’t have to define your business. Keep your customers coming back by striving to provide outstanding products and services, fair pricing, and an excellent customer service policy.