When you respond to a customer complaint, what do you hope will happen next? In many cases, the answer is “nothing.”
But when you reply and the result is silence, have you genuinely resolved the issue? Is your customer truly satisfied? Or have they simply gone quiet, and maybe gone away? Did you use good customer service skills to win that customer back and improve your business?
If you’re making a sincere effort and good customer service skills to respond to customer complaints, then make sure you also track complaining customers until you are absolutely sure they have come back.
If you run a restaurant, make sure they come back for dinner. If you work in travel, be sure they come back on board. If you’re in a bank, check they’re still using their credit cards. If not, your recovery effort remains incomplete.
My friend Steven Howard puts it this way: “A customer is not a customer until she buys from you the second time. The first time she is only a ‘trial user.’ The second time she becomes a ‘customer.’ The third time she qualifies as a ‘repeat customer’ and, over time, may become truly loyal.”
Key Learning Point About Customer Service Skills
Complaining customers are more active and vocal than most. Your response should not shut them up, it should win them back. Use good customer service skills and you can boost your client base.
Action Steps To Improve Customer Service Skills
Start tracking the return and repeat purchases of your complaining customers. If they come back and patronize you again, you are on the road to great reward. If they go away and don’t return, your “complaint reply system” is not working as it should.
Follow up with complaining customers who do not return. Find out what you could have done, or should have done, to truly recover their business. Then implement their suggestions – and keep on tracking.
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Copyright, Ron Kaufman. Used with permission. Ron Kaufman is the world’s leading educator and motivator for upgrading customer service and uplifting service culture. He is author of the bestselling “Uplifting Service” book and founder of Uplifting Service. To enjoy more customer service training and service culture articles, visit UpliftingService.com.
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