">

RAB Research Archive

Solve customer complaints with one question



When you travel you overhear lots of phone conversations, unintentionally of course. Recently, while waiting for my flight I heard a gentleman calling his home office about an unhappy customer. Something had gone wrong with the product or delivery, causing the customer to lose what sounded like 24 hours of production time. Admittedly, I'm not in manufacturing, but that sounds like a big deal to me.

I was only hearing one side of the conversation, but clearly his concern was how to get out of this with minimal harm. "Can we draft a letter or something that shares the responsibility with them for this?" he asked. From what I could tell, he was trying to blame the customer either entirely or at least partially for what happened.

When you or your company screw up, and you will at some point, it's important to act quickly and decisively. In my experience, an apology followed by a little-used question usually leads to a solution.

I'm sorry, what can I do to make this right for you?



Simple, and it avoids having to call a committee together to discuss the problem. Many times, customers just want to vent their anger about a situation. When their anger is legitimate, they just want you to listen. Other times, they have something specific in mind that they want in order to make it right. Too often, like this gentleman at the airport, we get a complaint and the hand-wringing starts. Call the boss; experience panic and fear. What are we going to do? And how are we going to do it?

Knowing what you will or will not do starts by asking the customer, "What can we do to make this right?"

Most of the time the customer's request is more than reasonable. In fact, it's generally less than what you were willing to do.

We all screw up. When you do, apologize and ask what you can do to make it right.

Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development for the RAB. You can reach him at jschmidt@rab.com or connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB





Or use your account on Unify

Error message here!

Hide Error message here!

Forgot your password?

Or register your new account on Unify

Error message here!

Error message here!

Hide Error message here!

Lost your password? Please enter your email address. You will receive a link to create a new password.

Error message here!

Or use your account on Unify

Error message here!

Hide Error message here!

Forgot your password?

Or register your new account on Unify

Error message here!

Error message here!

Hide Error message here!

Lost your password? Please enter your email address. You will receive a link to create a new password.

Error message here!

Back to log-in

Close

Back to log-in

Close