For most industries, the Christmas season is perhaps the most important part of the fiscal year. In a survey by the Prosper Insights & Analytics, an average customer usually spends $935.58 for cards, gifts, food and decorations for Christmas.
The survey also found that consumers can be persuaded to spend more—about 87 percent of customers are willing to spend another $25 during the holidays if the sales are too good to pass up.
Apart from the sheer increase in customer volume and massive spending, businesses can also expect the potential increase in customer feedback and complaints during the mad holiday rush. Customer feedback, whether positive or not, is a gold mine for businesses if they know how to turn complaints into business compliments.
Here are some of the best practices you can apply in your company’s complaints management training to make the holidays truly merry!
1. Respond quickly to customer complaints, especially on social media.
Social media has given customers another platform to voice out their concerns and grievances. One of the biggest no-no’s in social media marketing is not responding to online complaints in a timely manner.
Whether the complaint is sent through a private message or a public post, a social media manager needs to address the complaint quickly. Keep in mind that a single bad review or negative post can be viewed by hundreds of users who can share and comment on the thread and make it viral.
2. Handle complaints from rude customers calmly.
Sometimes, regardless of how many times a support staff has received a call from an irate customer, he or she still feels afraid of taking on the next call.
Christmas time is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. But, if you work in the customer service industry, addressing complaints is part of the job. And sometimes, the phrase “the customer is always right” does not always apply.
In cases like these, it is important to show compassion. The customer’s frustration could have a deeper source—a missed flight or opportunity, a really bad experience at the physical store or cashier.
You don’t need to ask the exact reason, but in order to handle irate customers calmly, function as if you know where their anger is coming from and show compassion and build trust. By showing that you care and you want to make the holidays more special by fixing their problems, you can convert a bad experience into a pleasant one.
3. Show responsibility by providing simple solutions.
Make your customers feel that you are looking at every possible solution to their current problem. If you receive an inquiry whether offline or online, give them a chance to walk you through the problem. If you need more information, politely ask the customer so that you can trace the source of the problem and provide informed solutions.
Even if it is not your fault, apologize to the customer for the bad experience on behalf of the company. Some irate customers call the company directly in hopes to find the quickest solution.
However, in cases where you are unable to find a solution to the problem right away, manage their expectations and give them a specific timeline as to when you can call them back. Do not give them false hopes, as these could only make things worse.
4. Follow-up and inquire if the solution worked.
Customers want to know that the company cares for them. A simple follow-up call days after solving a complaint could earn you points in the customer satisfaction game.
If it’s online, you can leave a short private message to inquire if the solution worked well and if there’s anything else you can help them with. Companies who go the extra mile to make their customers feel welcome and taken care of always win big in customer experience and loyalty. It’s a simple act that leaves a very big, positive impression.
5. Watch your body language and voice intonation.
If you are dealing with customers complaints at the store, it is important to watch both your voice intonation and body language. They key is pacify an irate customer. Sometimes, a single word said in the wrong tone can set off even more hostility.
For offline, on the other hand, call center agents who handle complaints should also watch how they speak and how they sound to the customer on the other end of the line. Always appear as calm as possible and give the customer the time to speak and explain the problem. If you cut a customer in the middle of a dialogue, this could make the experience more unpleasant.
The same thing happens when you’re dealing with online complaints. Apart from addressing them promptly, keep the explanation short and concise, and always be careful of the words you use.
Make It A Truly Merry Holiday!
The holidays can add a lot of pressure on the relationship between businesses and their customers. But with the right tactics and these best practices, frontline staff and managers can avoid turning negative feedbacks into PR nightmares.
Customers are a business’ lifeline, and management should train their staff to handle customer feedback and turn them into compliments that could spark word of mouth. To learn more, check out our complaints management training for professionals.