No one likes the ugly clouds of customer complaints. But the silver lining here is that properly handled complaining clients can become huge “Turbo Cheerleaders”!
Now as the owner or manager you will instinctively bend over backwards to please a ticked-off client. But your staff may avoid, ignore or even worse become adversarial with complaining customers. So train your employees in this simple “L.E.A.P.” acronym:
Listen- “Actively” listen to the customer’s concerns by using probing questions, jotting down notes and restating their comments to make sure you understand.
Empathize- Make an “Empathy Statement” to show the client that you understand and feel for them on an emotional level. Sincere comments such as “That must have been tough for you” or “I know I wouldn’t like that” or “Wow, that’s embarrassing to learn” all can put you on the same level as the customer.
Apologize- Make a heartfelt and sincere apology for the stress and inconvenience they have suffered.
Promise- Reassure the customer that you will do everything in your power to resolve their concern. Then of course you must do so!
I love illustrations, stories AND acronyms because they are remembered long after more complex (boring?) explanations. We always cover “converting a complainer” in depth during SFS but this simple L.E.A.P. abbreviation will hopefully stick with your employees.
PS: So how do you handle customer complaints? Share your ideas and/or war stories by commenting below!
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