Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Handling Difficult Customer Complaints

Tips for How to Properly Handle Customer Complaints in Your Small Business

handling customer complaints, small business
How do you handle
customer complaints?
As all business owners should know, building a base of repeat customers and business is the key to building a successful company that generates profits. While most or all of our efforts should be focused on this achieving this goal, it is important to understand that building these important relationships is not always as easy as it seems. Because bumps in the road are inevitable, it is important to have a plan to deal with unhappy customers and complaints in a way to helps to build and continue a positive relationship with them. The way a business and a business owner handle these delicate situations will help to encourage customers to come back and do business with them time and time again.

Do Homework on Potentially Difficult Customers

It is sometimes impossible to know whether or not a customer will become difficult and unpleasant to work with. But, when you have an initial vibe or inclination that they may be, it is always a good idea to do your homework on the organization. Consider asking for references from other companies who may have worked with them before and find out whether or not the company in question was pleasant to work with and paid their invoices on time. Once you have an idea of what the interactions with that business will be like, it will be much easier to put certain safeguards in place to make sure the transactions go smoothly and the relationship remains positive through the relationship.

Lay-Out the Scope of Work and Acquire a Signed Agreement

When dealing with a potentially difficult customer, it is always a best practice to have the customer sign an agreement for the scope of work before any actual work begins. This is a great time to discuss what the customer expects from you and your business ahead of time in order to make sure their needs are being met. Additionally, consider asking for a 50 percent deposit on the work being done along with the signed agreement – this will help you to have leverage over the customer should they become difficult to work with or decide they do not wish to pay for your services. Having these safeguards in place will help to protect you, your business, and your time investment in engaging the customer on a particular project.

Do Not Jump to Offer a Discount

In the event that a difficult customer is unhappy with a project, product or service, do not be too quick to offer them a refund or a discount on the price. This is a good time to sit down with the customer and find out exactly why they are unhappy and come to a mutual agreement that works for both parties. If a discount will help to bring potential for more business, it is definitely appropriate to offer one. For example, if a customer is unhappy with a service, offer them to have the service done again at a discount – this will bring you more business if the problems are solved and a refund is not given. While the general rule of thumb remains that "the customer is always right," you still need to keep the overall well-being and profitability of your business in mind. 

Do you need more small business tips? Stacy O'Quinn can help you! Stacy has helped dozens of entrepreneurs create a six figure income and he would love to help you too! For more information about Stacy and to learn how he can help you, click here.

*Photo Courtesy of ttarasiuk via Creative Commons License

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