Thursday, 24 March 2011

How to Deal with Customer Complaints

I got a wake-up call yesterday, whilst I was out collecting straggler catalogues. I was told I wasn't professional enough. By a customer.

This customer used to be part of a Kleeneze distributorship, back in the '90s. Her comments on my professionalism stemmed from the fact I didn't knock on her door the night before to collect her order. She was also aggrieved about the fact that I hadn't fulfilled a previous order. Only one problem with that - she hadn't given me an order in the past 8 weeks, as I hadn't given her a catalogue in the past 8 weeks, as per her husband's instructions.

I could have got upset and let her know it - after all, if she ordered something from another Kleeneze distributor, there's not much I could do if the goods weren't delivered.

I chose not to. I apologised, promised I would always knock on the door in future, told her I'd no idea what had happened to her order and that I would not let her down again. I meant every word, and she realised that. I also opened up a little about why I was trying to build my Kleeneze business and why good customer relationships were so important to me. In doing so, I reinforced my own beliefs.

Sometimes it's good to tell others what your WHY is.

In return, she gave me some useful tips for managing my Kleeneze retail business and I will be implementing those over the next few weeks. Her husband joined in, with suggestions as to good areas to deliver catalogues, and I will follow up on his suggestions too.

We parted on friendly terms, and much of the potential damage has been dealt with. The rest can only be dealt with when I demonstrate, over time, that I am both professional and reliable.

What are your favourite ways of dealing with customer complaints?