By Ron Kaufman, author of “Uplifting Service: The Proven Path to Delighting Your Customers, Colleagues, and Everyone Else You Meet”
The last thing a customer with a complaint wants to hear you say is: “You’re wrong.” What they want to hear is that you understand them, appreciate them, and agree with them on the importance of the value they have cited in their complaint.
Here are a few quick scripts to use when responding to customer complaints:
Customer Complaint: Rude Service
Your customer says: “Your staff was rude and totally unprofessional.”
You say: “You are right to expect courteous, respectful, and professional staff.”
Customer Complaint: Too Many Rules
Your customer says: “Your policies are rigid. Your company is so bureaucratic.”
You say: “I agree that we should be as flexible and user-friendly as possible. Your suggestions can really help.”
Customer Complaint: Overpriced
Your customer says: “This product isn’t anything like what I was promised. And your price is way too high!”
You say: “I am on your side in this situation. You have a right to be satisfied with whatever you purchase from us. You deserve good value for your money. Let’s review what you have purchased and see if there’s a better option for you.”
Customer Complaint: Too Slow
Your customer says: “I’ve been waiting forever. Why did it take you so long to take my order?”
You say: “We understand that in today’s world speed counts. You deserve fast, friendly service.”
Customer Complaint: Bad Website
Your customer says: “Your website is terrible. I couldn’t find the information I needed.”
You say: “You are right to want an informative, user-friendly website. What information couldn’t you find? Your suggestions on how to improve the site are a big help.”
Notice how your responses make the customer feel right. We don’t argue over the facts: rude staff, stiff policies, or insufficient product features. But we do actively agree on the importance of what they value most.
Let’s face it — the customer is not always right. But customers are always important, and we can make them feel much better by agreeing with them on the importance of the service dimensions they identify and value.
Ron Kaufman is the author of “Uplifting Service: The Proven Path to Delighting Your Customers, Colleagues, and Everyone Else You Meet“. He is the world’s premiere thought leader, educator, and motivator for uplifting customer service and building service cultures in many of the world’s largest and most respected organizations, including Singapore Airlines, Nokia Siemens Networks, Citibank, Microsoft, and Xerox. He is the founder of UP! Your Service, a global service education and management consultancy firm with offices in the United States and Singapore.