569541_M (2)Have you ever had a complaint about a product or service and the person you were dealing with immediately became defensive? Were they ready to shut you down before even hearing your side of things?

It’s easy to become frustrated when this happens to you. On the other hand, you may be guilty of taking the same attitude when customer complaints come your way. Your agency’s staff is usually professional and courteous, and they work diligently to provide prompt and efficient customer service. At the same time, someone is sure to overlook a detail here or there.

A good rule to follow when responding to customer complaints is to hear the customer out until they are done speaking before you say anything at all. Once they have finished speaking, repeat the concern and ask if you understand it correctly. This is so essential when dealing with customer complaints. Even if the customer does not have a valid complaint, just hearing them out is so important. Sometimes, people just want to air their concerns and have someone listen. It makes them feel valued and like they are getting something off their chest.

Next, once you’ve assured your customer you have heard their concerns, show that you understand. Even if they are not correct, validate concerns by letting them know you understand their perspective of the situation. Pay attention to the complaint and listen attentively. Chances are—this customer is not the first to have this concern. Hear them out, and don’t make the customer feel wrong for having a concern. You may be heading off other potential customer problems by solving this one.

This is a much better stance than becoming defensive when one of your customers has a complaint. When you feel annoyed at a customer complaint, instead of answering and immediately becoming defensive, take a deep breath, let it out slowly, and count to three before responding. Watch your tone of voice. Remain calm, even if you are not wrong.

Resolving the situation calmly and with respect to your customer will increase your value in their eyes. Customers are happy to have someone that will listen, and you will be happy to retain your customer’s business. Everybody wins!