A picture of a customer complaining about the food in a restauraYou might have thought you were listening to  customer feedback and complaints with as open of a mind as possible, but that is not necessarily true. Customers don’t always complain about something that can be fixed, but that does not mean you shouldn’t listen to their complaint and take it for what it is. A customer does not want to be given the scripted “understanding” response to a complaint or comment.  They want someone to actively listen. Though this can be difficult, especially through a computer with online complaints, it can be done by using these three techniques:

  1. Listening
  2. Understanding
  3. Empathizing

Listening to a customer, and making sure that even if the complaint is not something fixable, that the customers voice is heard, is very important. Try and avoid jumping to the conclusion that the customer is just picky, and try to get to the base of what went wrong without placing blame. This can help you better your business for the future, as well as help you deal with the situation at hand. In a situation where a customer is unhappy, something has always gone wrong, so try not to get defensive.

Try and empathize with your customer and really put yourself in their shoes. If the person complaining says they were in a hurry and did not get service fast enough, do not simply say to yourself “Then you should have chosen a faster restaurant.” Try and listen to the core of the customers complaint and understand what really made them feel this way. Perhaps it was because the employees all stop to talk in view of where the customer was seated, which is a fixable problem.

Make sure you are thoroughly listening, understanding and empathizing with the customer and problem at hand. For more help look to Customer Think for ideas and details. More…