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    TIPS ON HANDLING CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS

    On most days, some of our friends on our Facebook feed would complain about a customer service failure.

    One would think that all front liners would already know what to do, but the constant complaints indicate that this is not so, and that further training or orientation is required.

    Here are three tips on how to effectively handle complaints.

    1. Develop guidelines or protocols on how to handle potential situations

    For those who face clients, the first two obstacles would be (1) fear of the situation (and the angry customer!) and its implications and (2) lack of knowledge on how to address the complaints. The need for guidelines or protocol on how to handle this situation is obvious.

    If the front liners have in the back of their mind a process to remember, then they wouldn’t panic, and respond accordingly.

    2. Develop a relationship with the customer

    Studies show that if you resolve a complaint in the customer’s favor, the likelihood of repeat business increases. Moreover, it is proven that a healthy “relationship” with the customer truly benefits the company’s bottom line. Yet this aspect is rarely focused on at all. Companies that develop such a relationship with their customers are always able to command a higher price and inspire loyalty—think Starbucks, to give just one example.

    3. Empower your front liners

    Customers are a company’s lifeblood. No customers, no business. No business, no job. Front liners need to understand that what they do reflects on the company image. They need to act, think, and feel like owners of the business. This also means that they should be empowered to make decisions on their own, as much as possible, without having to go through several layers of management.

    Are there other tips that you think would improve customer service? Let us know!

    The Inquirer Academy is offering a Customer Service series designed for professionals in the field of sales, operations and customer service. The first module is entitled “Handling Customer Complaints: Communicate and Connect with your Customers” on April 4.

    Other modules include “Customer Service Recovery: Win Back your Customers for Good” and “The R.O.I. on a Customer Service Mindset: Reaping the Benefits of a Service-Oriented Culture.”