Businesses, like humans, are imperfect. Sometimes people have to wait. Mistakes happen every occasionally. Good service does not require perfection, but it does require intention, attention, and engagement.
The intention to engage and serve customers needs to be in the hearts and minds of every employee. Establishing a company-wide commitment to excellent service supports employees as they make choices to uphold this value. Service needs to be put first. Profit is good, but profit without customers is impossible. Service, first, is what drives profit.
Providing good service requires that employees pay close attention to the verbal and non-verbal cues that customers send. Some people will come right out and tell you their complaint, but others will show you their dissatisfaction. It is critical to pay attention to both the spoken and unspoken messages that customers provide.
Once the message is received, the opportunity to engage has arrived. Engagement leads to emotional connection. Let us face it, we all want to feel seen, heard and valued by the people around us. This is done by acknowledging the customer’s concern or complaint and making it right. Sometimes all that is required is a conversation in order for the customer to feel heard and served, while at other times more action or follow-up is required.
So what are the new rules of complaints management?
- First things first: Make sure you have a social media presence. This shows customers that you are forward thinking and interested in engaging. At a minimum, have a Facebook page and a Twitter account so that customers can contact you via social media if they prefer.
- If you are interested in knowing what people are saying about your company, set up a Google Alert or use a low-cost product such as Hoot Suite or Sprout Social to monitor your internet mentions. That way, if something related to you is blowing up or going viral, and not simply a person ‘having a moment’ with friends, you can join in the conversation and potentially diffuse the issue.
- Address and record every complaint that comes to you directly, whether you receive it through one of your social media pages, one of your more traditional customer service channels, or get it straight from the customer, either verbally or non-verbally.
- Finally, it is critical to have a simple and effective system in place to capture and manage customer complaints. A simple spreadsheet does not allow you to harness the full power of customer feedback. Organizations need a solution that will not only capture information, but also provide options for responding, reporting and using the data to grow and improve. Simple and affordable solutions are now available for those companies that want to capture the voice of the customer and use it to grow.
While the rules of customer service and complaint management are changing, customer service itself is very much the same. Social media simply provides increased communication channels. At the end of the day, our job is still to put quality and service first, pay attention to what customers are saying, and be open to all forms of customer engagement. If anything is changing, it is the need for companies to have an organized system in place to manage and respond the ever-increasing feedback coming from customers.