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Handling Customer Service Complaints in Your Home Business
If you are running a home business, responsibility for customer service is yours. In order to effectively cope with customer service issues in a home business, use the tips below to establish a customer service policy for your home business.
Prepare for customer service complaints to be personal if you run a home business. People don’t complain to individual business owners the same way that they deal with large corporations so that dissatisfied customers are very likely to include personal criticisms such as those that imply that you’re a thief or that you’re incompetent. By preparing yourself for personal attacks from unhappy customers, you’ll be less likely to respond inappropriately.
The customer isn’t always right so you don’t have to instantly begin apologizing and making amends in the form of coupons or refunds. Consider the customer’s complaint and decide whether you believe you’ve done something wrong before offering apologies and making amends. If you don’t believe you’ve erred, explain why and perhaps offer a minor offer of a coupon or give-away just to keep your customer happy.
Immediately following a negative interaction with a customer make sure that you monitor review websites where your reputation may be taking a hit. If you’re trying to work with an unhappy customer and find that person is posting to a review website, try telling the person that you’d like him or her to wait until you finish handling the situation before they publicize the problem. If the unhappy customer is not willing to refrain from bashing your business until that person sees whether you can resolve the problem, discontinue your efforts at resolution since you’re gaining nothing out of trying to satisfy the person’s customer service expectations.
You can send your own informal cease and desist correspondence to customers who are trying to ruin your business reputation based on opinion rather than fact by threatening to seek reimbursement from the unhappy customer for lost income. Analyze the content of the complaint before considering this threat since opinions are not actionable, only false claims such as the ingredients you use to bake your cookies for your catering business are spoiled when you only use fresh ingredients.
Make sure that you periodically review comments that pop up on review websites about your business so that you can respond where appropriate and use the information provided by customers to determine whether you should work to improve a specific aspect of your service to customers.
Try to drill down to what the real complaint is if you begin experiencing many customer complaints. For instance, complaints about price from people after they’ve purchased your product are likely more about disappointment in some aspect of the product or service than price.
Practice mirroring when you receive verbal complaints to make sure you understand what a person is complaining about. Mirroring means that you respond to the complaint by stating, “If I understand correctly” and then summarize what you’ve heard.
Your home business will not always result in happy customers. Use the suggestions above for addressing customer service complaints about your home business.