Congratulations, you’ve done it!! With hard work, patience and perseverance you’ve started your own business, but now is not the time to rest. Opening the doors was just the beginning, now you need to keep them open and succeed. Exemplary customer service, reliable products, and good marketing can elevate any business, but no matter how much you believe in what you do, and no matter how streamlined your business you are going to get complaints. No one wants to believe it, but complaints are an inevitable part having a business, however they do not have to be detrimental. By simply preparing and having a course of action your company can turn a negative complaint into a positive experience for both you and the customer.

How to Avoid Complaints

Complaints are unavoidable, however by being proactive you can limit the number of complaints you get. Never turn the other cheek when you see something that is below the standards you set for yourself, your employees and your company. For example, if you find that a customer’s shipment failed to go out when it was supposed to don’t wait for the customer to call and complain, be proactive and contact the customer. Remember, if you see a problem fix it before it elevates into a complaint.

How to Respond to Complaints

It’s happened, an unforeseen circumstance has landed you face to face with an upset customer who has a complaint. How you act, respond, and handle the situation is going to determine if this customer comes back or walks away. Whenever you handle a complaint remember these tips:

Stay calm and don’t take it personally—It is easy to feel attacked and to let your emotions get in the way, but that will not help the situation and will only serve in
upsetting the customer more. Take a deep breath and put your emotions aside.

Listen and don’t interrupt—Many times a customer simply wants someone to listen to what they have to say. Don’t appear disinterested, argue with them or interrupt them, that is not what they need. They need to know that you are truly hearing what they are saying and that you are concerned about their situation.

Every complaint is unique and important—Ok, so maybe not, but to that customer their complaint is unique and is extremely important. If the customer didn’t think it was important they wouldn’t be complaining. Even if this is your third complaint about the same issue you need to treat it like it’s the first time you’re hearing it.

Understand—Try to understand the customer’s point of view. If you must, put yourself in their shoes and try to imagine how they are feeling and how you would react under the same circumstances. Understanding their position can bring a whole new perspective in how you respond.

Offer a resolution and follow through—Allowing a customer to voice their complaint is only half the battle, you must also offer them a resolution and follow through with your offer. Most times if you listen to the customer, understand their complaint, offer them a fair resolution and stick to it then the customer can walk away satisfied. You will find that there will be some customers whose complaints simply cannot be resolved. Whether it’s due to company policy or the customer’s outrageous demands it is important to remember that if you offered the customer a fair and reasonable resolution then you have handled the complaint well.

Provide a sincere apology—Sincere is the key word and it is a lot easier said than done. The customer needs to believe that you are truly sorry for what has happened, especially if it is your fault. Don’t simply say, “sorry” and walk away, no one will believe that you are actually sorry. Instead repeat to the customer why you are apologizing and make them feel like your apology genuine.

Are Complaints Actually Good?

Yes, complaints can be good, but first you must make them work for you and not against you. To do this it is important to keep detailed records of all complaints that your business receives. These records can provide feedback on which areas of your business that need additional focus. For example, if you have several complaints because of incorrect orders then you need to evaluate how your orders are taken, pulled and shipped. Look at each complaint as a learning experience and each learning experience is another way to improve your business.

Rectify the Issue Within Your Company That Caused the Complaint
You have been keeping track of your complaints and have found that most of them are because of poor customer service. You notice that it’s not that your employees are unfriendly or unhelpful it’s that they aren’t knowledgeable, so they are unable to answer customer questions. To rectify the issue, you immediately put together an interactive training seminar for all employees, so they are better suited to answer questions and help customers. The answer is never to ignore a problem, instead come up with a solution so you can prevent future complaints.

Instead of worrying about complaints or ignoring them completely simply educate yourself. Develop a strategy that will work for your business and tackle complaints head on, then make sure and do what you can to rectify the base cause of the complaint. If you aren’t sure how to do that ask other business owners for help or turn to the internet. There are numerous pages devoted to managing and remedying complaints.

Author's Bio: 

wwriter and seo expert