Handling customer complaints is one of the most stressful parts of any job. People can get pretty charged up when they don’t get the service or product they expected. Potential complaints can be avoided by setting clear expectations for your customer. Don’t oversell your product, just be realistic, but do over-deliver.
When a customer has a complaint, valid or not, it’s best to hear him or her out and empathize with him. Nothing puts someone on the offense as much as your defense. Don’t be someone they need to fight with. Apologize for their negative experience with your company without making excuses. Then, look for a way to reach an amicable solution to the problem. Sometimes this means that your company will lose some money. The good reputation you build by good customer relations will make that money back in the long run.
One night I got called in to work to handle a tour that had gone terribly wrong. There were ten furious customers who had a legitimately bad experience with our company. Although most of the circumstances were out of our hands, it was my responsibility to find a solution that satisfied our customers. If not satisfied, ten people could easily destroy our reputation and rating online. By staying calm, empathizing with the customers and offering a partial refund I was able to satisfy our customers complaints and save the company’s online reputation.