How to Satisfy a Customer Complaint
I love when customers contact me to discuss a problem with their order. It’s more than a complaint. It means the customer had high expectations of my shop, that they wanted to love their piece of jewelry, and something’s gone wrong. More than that, it means that they saw a future for us, as business and client, but something blew it for them.
A disappointed customer will only take the time to contact you if they intended to be a repeat customer. This communication is your golden opportunity to create a bond for life, so knock their socks off. In my case, if the Energy Shop wasn’t worth the customer’s salt, they would toss the product and I would never hear from them again. I have a policy in my store: If I make a mistake with your order, or if one of my products fails you, I am going to serve you so well that you’ll hope I screw up again in the future.
Because my products exist to help my customers serve their best life, my jewelry come with a 150% Satisfaction Guarantee. Think about it, if I create jewelry to remind you of your best intentions, but it doesn’t fit right, what happens every time you put it on? Would you think, “I am going to have one of the best days of my life!”, or would you think, “This bracelet is too big!”? You would think the latter and it would drain your energy, instead of inspire it.
It can sometimes be difficult to take the criticism, but the customer’s issue with the product is never personal. Sometimes other people’s distress won’t make complete sense to you. Customers can get ruffled up for reasons we can’t comprehend, and sometimes we have a gut reaction to respond. When we see someone upset, we get upset too, or we get anxious and try to calm them.
Here, I am reminded of how my four year old responds to an upset scene. She stays calm and quiet, and her face reads, “I don’t have any idea what’s going on here, and that’s okay.” She patiently waits for the unhappy to unfold, so things will get back to normal. Her ego hasn’t fully developed, and it doesn’t occur to her to get worked up simply because everyone else around her is upset.
I bring that attitude to an upset customer. I can’t be sure what their expectations were. I don’t know what they predict my response is going to be. It doesn’t always look good, but I can try my best to resolve the situation to their full satisfaction.
Therefore, I suggest you take none of the customer’s complaint personally. Simply serve them. Forget the first order, figure out what they expected, and then exceed those expectations. I know we have all dealt with crappy customer service—don’t be that guy! Instead:
1. Script your reply to the complaint as if you were talking to your best friend. Don’t “apologize for any inconvenience.” Everybody says that. Old Navy says that. You’re selling your handmade creations, and that’s personal business, so this apology should be personal. Say, “I’m sorry for your (upset/disappointment/dissatisfaction/frustration).”
2. Acknowledge their frustration, but save the excuses. I know that the baby gets the flu, or some other pressing issue comes up. But here, DO be like Old Navy. Hear your customer, but don’t make excuses—in doing so, you’re asking the customer to hear your side of things, and that’s not their job! I told you to make the apology personal, but don’t forget that the order is a business transaction.
3.Don’t pass the buck. If you were waiting on supplies, but they didn’t get there on time, that’s your own faulty planning—don’t throw your supplier under the bus. When you’re dealing with an upset customer, it’s always your fault. Anything less is just another excuse.
4. Do not inconvenience your customer. This is my main issue with big business today. When a large company makes a mistake with my online order, it often turns into the work that I have to do for them to get my order corrected—Call this number to discuss your issue, gather shipping materials and postage, return it here to this address. In other words, in order for them to process my order correctly, I have to correct the mistake they made on my first order (which usually takes about an hour of my valuable time). This always leaves me wondering, why am I doing all this work to give you my hard-earned cash?
Realize that your customer doesn’t have the shipping materials that you probably have on hand, and returns would be pretty inconvenient. Sometimes I need materials back, and in those cases, I send a self-addressed, stamped packaged with their replacement order. More often though, I cut my losses to leave the customer satisfied with their transaction. My first thought in resolving any issue is, “how can I make this simple and convenient for my customer?”
5. Thank them for allowing you to correct your mistake. I LOVE making things right with my customers. Like I said, it’s a golden opportunity to build a stronger bond. Appreciate them for caring enough to contact you in the first place.
All the best and good luck to you!