It’s bound to happen. A customer of yours is upset about some aspect of their event and they want you to fix it. Maybe the event didn’t start on time, maybe their song selections got lost or the lighting doesn’t quite look like what they had hoped. No matter how thorough you are and how much you follow through on planning, inevitably, complaints will occur. Many of these issues arise just out of the process of having to coordinate so many diverse elements in planning, and through lack of follow-up by others, even when yours is perfect.
So what’s the best way to handle client complaints? Welcome them!
More than likely your client will seem very emotional about the problem. When people are angry, upset or frustrated, they often act in an emotional manner. Emotions block rational thinking. It may be difficult for clients to vocalize their complaints effectively when they are being led by emotion rather than logic. In addition, some people are just critical, demanding or obnoxious.
While any of these scenarios may test your patience, it is important to wear a smile and maintain professional attitude.
First, listen without interruption, validate the person’s feelings, then commit to promptly attending to the situation and remedying it.
Develop a culture in your company that treats every complaint as the key to developing a better way of doing things. It is extremely important to let all of your staff members know how strongly you feel about customer service, and that you will hold them accountable for delivering the best.
Some simple rules for handling client complaints are:
- Listen attentively to what your clients say and how they say it.
- Respond courteously and directly.
- Identify the basis and cause of any complaint.
- Give specific feedback about what steps you will take to respond, including the research you will perform, the vendors or services with whom you will discuss the difficulty, when you will get back to the client, and the method you will use for contact.
- Set a reasonable timeframe for the resolution.
- Always ask the client to repeat back whatever you have agreed to do, to be sure they are in agreement. The worst thing you can do after a complaint has been lodged is compound the problem by appearing to not follow-up on the solution.
Once you are able to resolve the issue and make the client happy, take the time to ask the client to do business with you again. You have earned the right to ask because you demonstrated that you are a caring, sincere, proactive professional. Why wouldn’t someone do business with you again?
Finally, make sure you have a refund policy in place that you can use for those clients that you just can’t please. Such a policy can help you convert prospects into clients and keep unhappy clients from spreading bad word of mouth.