When engaged in any kind of relationship, there is the opportunity for conflict. I find this to be especially true when you are engaged to build someones dream, there is a great deal of scope for miscommunication, which is nearly always the vehicle for conflict. Complaints when viewed correctly, are a fantastic opportunity for growth within a business, particularly when handled well. Would you like to learn how to resolve complaints to help build your business? Read on.
How to Resolve Complaints
No matter the complaint, the value of the complaint or the size of the complaint, the most important key to resolving the complaint is to listen. Don’t just glaze over, and dream of where you would rather be, actively listen. Show you are listening by joining in on the conversation, for example, “I am really sorry that the cornice fell down over the weekend, that must have given you such a fright”, or “You are right, some small tile suppliers do have a much better range than our regular supplier”, or “I understand that renovations feel like they are taking forever to complete”.
Along with engaging body language, and eye contact one of the biggest keys to actively listening is repeating the key message of the complaint to the client. Show them that you have heard their complaint. You do not need to agree with their complaint to be actively listening, mostly we just all want to feel heard, and validated. Begin the resolving process by listening, actively.
Find The Problem in The Complaint
Complaints are nearly always made with a lot of emotion. Emotion tends to cloud the actual issue, for example with renovating we have a lot of clients who are unhappy that there is not someone on their site every day, however the complaint is usually presented far more complexly than that. When you take the time to actively listen to a client, the problem with unveil itself pretty quickly, and if you have used my above tip, you will have had the opportunity to have the client confirm the actual problem before you move forward with finding a resolution. Not entirely sure what the actual problem is within the complaint, actively listen to the client, and then ask for some time to investigate the issue before answering them. This will give a little more time for the problem to reveal itself, and it always will.
Work Together To Find a Resolution
I highly recommend when making a complaint that the person doing so, has a solution ready to offer. This makes it very clear what is expected for a satisfactory outcome. If the person who is making the complaint has not come forward with a resolution, simply ask them how they would like the problem to be solved. Again, this does not mean this person is right, or that this suggestion is the only way to resolve the complaint, it does however, give you the opportunity to know exactly what the person making the complaint requires to have the best outcome. Often it will be far less than you anticipate, and if it is something that you are not able to do, you will still have the opportunity to effectively communicate another proposal.
Be prepared to compromise, your client will not always be right in what they are upset about, but by compromising, you will have the best chance for an amicable outcome. Communication is the biggest part of building, using it effectively means client satisfaction that is talked about for years, and when word of mouth is your biggest advertising, getting it right is crucial. Again, compromising does not mean that you have done something wrong, or are admitting fault, simply that their is an opportunity to validate your clients feelings and assist them to find a solution to them.
Take the time to document the complaint and the meetings or discussions around it. Document how you came to a resolution and how it was carried out. It is beneficial to again show you are actively listening to your client, by sending them an email documenting the situation and how it was resolved. This keeps the communication clear and outlines the next step without the emotion to cloud the way.
Most importantly, when receiving a complaint in any kind of business, take the opportunity to access the complaint and how you as the business owner could have prevented the situation from arising. Could your communication been clearer, is there an earlier opportunity to educate your client, should a certain tradesperson no longer be invited onsite. There is always an opportunity to learn through any mistake and successful businesses understand the value in a complaint.
I can honestly say that we receive complaints on every job we undertake. When involved in such big decisions in someones life there are many opportunities for miscommunication, and this is often where the complaints arise, coupled with the unspoken expectations of a client, there is again an opportunity for us to disappoint without our knowledge. Look at the complaint as a gift and use it to your advantage, look for the opportunities that it presents and learn from them.
Do you handle complaints in your line of business? How do you resolve a complaint? Ever had a successful outcome from a complaint?
Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT