The Best Binary Options Broker 2020!
Perfect For Beginners!
Free Demo Account!
Free Trading Education!
Things to Consider When Giving Feedback
Giving feedback is one of several paradoxes in management. It is undeniably true, yet seemingly contradictory, to realize that we must provide both criticism and praise in order for people on our teams to work effectively. And it is especially important to strike the right balance between the two.
An important data point to remember is that negative feedback sticks out in our minds much more strongly than positive feedback; hearing about a potential area for improvement acts as more of an emotional threat than a commendation on a job well done. That stronger emotional attachment cements the memory, and we are likely to remember the negative feedback more clearly and easily in the future.
What do you naturally prefer?
Think back to all the different managers and supervisors who you have worked for. What type of feedback did you receive? What you’ll likely realize is that we all have an individual preference on how to evaluate and report someone’s performance. For example, there’s the guy who only speaks up when something is wrong; there’s the people-pleaser who will only ever say you have done a good job; and there’s the manager who will give positive feedback throughout the project only to save the areas for development until the end. Of course the varieties are endless. Which are you – how do you tend to deliver feedback?
What does the recipient of the feedback prefer?
I have heard people say, “I love to hear what I can do better. If you ever have any criticism, lay it on me. This is the way I learn and improve.” This could be true of some people, but most of us aren’t like that. Some of us feel easily threatened by negative feedback, even if we know that in the long-run it is valuable information. Pay attention to the reactions people have when you give feedback. Make a note of the medium, the message, and their reaction. Experiment with different methods of delivery or various phrases until you find something that works well.
What does the situation call for?
Regardless of individual preferences, also take the situation into account. No matter if you only want to provide praise and your people only want to hear good things, sometimes facing the areas where there is room for improvement is a wise choice.
How to effectively respond to customer complaints
Amy Saunders & Jennifer Leslie
How to respond to customer complaints
5 tips on responding to customer complaints:
- listen to the customer’s experience in its entirety
- focus on the solution
- don’t rush the customer
- find complaints before they find you
Customer complaints are timeless. No matter the size, nature, or success of your business, you’ll always have at least a small percentage of people who aren’t happy with what you do. The idea that you can’t please everyone is as true today as it was a century ago.
But never before in history has it been easier for customers to complain. To criticize a business, customers don’t have to take the time to talk with you. They can simply pick up their phone, type a few angry sentences, and hit send—via email, review sites like Yelp and Google, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, or any number of online forums and discussion boards.
Free customer avatar template
And, unlike the old days, customers don’t have to be loyal to any one business: They’ll just Google your competitors. According to a customer service survey by American Express, more than a third of customers said they immediately consider switching companies after a single negative experience.
Since a customer service makes the backbone of any successful business, you can’t afford to turn off a customer. To prevent this from happening, it’s important to first understand what might be causing your customers to say, “I’m not buying anything from you again.”
The Best Binary Options Broker 2020!
Perfect For Beginners!
Free Demo Account!
Free Trading Education!
6 common customer services mistakes to avoid
It might be tempting to automate all of your marketing and sales tasks to cut costs and time if you’ve adopted automation technology, but you shouldn’t automate just because you can. Technology can’t provide perfect replacement of that “one-on-one” experience. Plus, different customers prefer different modes of communication.
Dana Brownlee, founder of the communications consulting firm, Professionalism Matters, you need to give options so your customers aren’t treated to “the frustrating phone trees.” Where possible, provide phone numbers, live chats, and emails through which your customers can reach you.
If you do choose to rely on automation (and it certainly has its benefits), be sure your automated emails sound natural and personal. Read the free e-book, “This Time, It’s Personal” to get more tips on using automation the right way.
2. Trying to handle customers too quickly
Most representatives assume they know what the customer wants. When they answer their customer’s call, they rush to give them a solution to their problem. This can disgruntle your customer and could lead them to resent your company. To avoid losing customers, teach your customer service representatives effective listening skills. Make sure they’re taking the time to listen to the customer, understand their specific problem, and offer a solution. Encourage them to get rid of their scripts and work with the customer.
3. System outages
The truth is, no system has a perfect uptime. Even the most established, cloud-based systems have their fair share of trouble when the outage monster strikes. The tragedy is, if your customers can’t reach you, all the midnight oil you burned grooming your business will have been in vain.
To be on the safe side, look for a reputable web service provider that offers fast page loading time and a reliable, round-the-clock uptime. For those who provide support via email and telephone, ensure that your customer can reach you during the hours you promise support. If you are not reachable after hours, build a system that allows them to put in a request or a ticket. Then call back when you are available.
4. Slow turnaround
We live in the time of on-demand. Thanks to the power of modern technology, we’ve become completely impatient. We want to have a quick turnaround time. Your customers expect the same. Having a speedy response not only draws them to your business but can win their long-term loyalty, too. Respond promptly to your customers’ questions and feedback, especially if it’s over social media where things move faster than the speed of light. Otherwise, your competition will be laughing all the way to the bank.
5. Undervaluing your customer service team
Your customer reps are the first personal interaction your customers receive. They make up the face of your business. Unfortunately, they also tend to the be lowest paid and regarded employees. Sinking their morale will sink your business to rock bottom. Find ways to motivate them to go the extra mile to satisfy your customers. Hire top talent, pay them well, and reward them whenever they achieve great results. You will also attract top talent to your service desk if you build a reputation treating your employees well.
6. No complaints ≠ good customer service
You work hard to get to your customers. You train your staff on great customer service examples and how to handle questions that run the gamut. And you’re not getting any complaints, so you should be happy, right?
One of the most common customer service mistakes is mistakenly thinking that just because you aren’t getting complaints means your customer service is top notch. Studies have shown that only 1 out of 26 disgruntled customers will complain. That means that for every complaint you receive, there are another 25 dissatisfied customers who don’t bother to complain. However, if you’re receiving an avalanche of compliments and only a few complaints, you have a reason to smile. You’re doing something right.
Now that you understand what could be bringing in those customer service complaints, it’s time to establish a plan for your customer complaint response. Here are the basics that will help create positive experiences for your customers and make them feel appreciated and loyal.
Preparing for complaints
Talk as a team
When is the best time to figure out how to respond to complaints? Before the complaints ever occur. Talk with your staff about handling scenarios like angry emails, policy disputes, and discount requests to ensure your company’s responses are delivered consistently and confidently. No customer is reassured by a response like, “Um, I don’t know; I’ll have to ask my boss.” Include your whole team in the discussion: All employees represent the company, regardless of whether their roles directly involve customer service.
Find complaints before they find you
Customers tend to take their complaints online as a last resort as if your company would only respond to them in the event of public shaming. On every platform, make it easy for customers to find email addresses and phone numbers on every platform so that customers know they have outlets for feedback.
Better yet: Be the first to start the complaint conversation by sending post-purchase emails and surveys to customers. If you’re using automation software like Keap, you can send these emails automatically after every purchase. The software can also alert you to negative feedback so that responding rises to the top of your to-do list. By taking a proactive approach, you’ll discover more feedback that helps you improve your business: Most companies hear from only 4 percent of dissatisfied customers, according to the book “Understanding Customers.”
Responding to complaints
Don’t leave them hanging
One hour is the new one business day. More than 85 percent of customers think businesses should respond to emails within an hour, according to a survey by Toister Performance Solutions, a firm that focuses on customer service training. Similarly, 42 percent of customers expect one-hour response time on social media, according to a survey from the social media research project, The Social Habit.
Many customer complaints can’t be resolved in 60 minutes or less, but they can at least be addressed. If you need a few days to investigate the customer’s complaint, tell her so now, not after those few days. Your failure to respond might lead the customer to believe you’re not on top of customer service—or worse, that you don’t care, which only worsens the situation.
If you won’t be able to respond quickly, consider setting up an automatic response. With Keap, the completion of a “contact us” web form can trigger an email that tells the customer you’ll get back to her as soon as possible. While that email can’t resolve the complaint, it can reassure the customer that her message didn’t disappear into an online black hole.
Listen and apologize
No matter the business or the complaint, the first two steps to resolving a customer complaint are the same. Step one: listen to the customer’s experience in its entirety. Step two: apologize.
Ideally, these conversations would take place in person or on the phone, but that doesn’t mean Yelp reviews and Facebook comments should be ignored. Digital marketing strategist Jay Baer says businesses should address every complaint, on every channel, every time. “I’m not suggesting that the customer is always right,” Baer said in a webinar, Hug Your Haters: Customer Service in a Digital and Social World, “I’m suggesting that the customer is always heard.”
You don’t have to plead guilty to an offense every time a customer complains, but you do need to consider his point of view—to listen without interruptions. Make it clear that you understand why the customer is upset, even if you don’t agree with him. You may not be sorry that he simply didn’t like your product, but you can still be sorry that he had a disappointing experience.
The simple act of listening and apologizing can be therapeutic enough to resolve the problem. Researchers at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom conducted a study with two groups of eBay customers who had given negative feedback. In a request to withdraw the comments, one group was offered an apology that cited a manufacturer delay, while the other was offered a small amount of money. Ultimately, a simple “sorry” proved more valuable than the cash: 45 percent of participants withdrew their comments after receiving the apology, compared with only 23 percent of those offered compensation.
Focus on the solution
After you’ve listened to the customer’s complaint and apologized, you can offer your side of the story—not an excuse, but an explanation. A customer’s misunderstanding or lack of information could have contributed to his complaint, and learn more about your company’s intentions might help settle his emotions.
But keep it short: The more you say, the more you might create opportunities to start another argument. Instead, shift the conversation away from the problem and toward the solution.
Don’t make promises you don’t intend to keep: You’re not going to drastically change your company’s offerings or operations based on the opinion of one person. But maybe you’re going to talk with an employee or adjust a process that caused the problem in order to prevent it from happening again. By explaining the actions you’re going to take, you show the customer that you valued his feedback and gave it serious consideration.
If you can afford it, give the customer a financial incentive for a future purchase. If a restaurant settles a complaint by reducing the bill, the customer still might leave with a negative impression of the service. Offering a gift card compels the customer to come back for an additional—and hopefully, more positive—experience with your company. According to “Understanding Customers,” it takes 12 positive experiences to overcome one unresolved negative experience with a business.
Making the most of complaints
Customer complaints can be stressful, uncomfortable, time-consuming and just plain annoying. Still, you should be thankful for them. Unlike 96 percent of dissatisfied customers, complainers took the time and energy to tell you how you could improve your business. Sure, by speaking up, they might hope something’s in it for them. But there should be. Always thank customers for their feedback, even negative: Without it, you wouldn’t truly know how to provide the good service that keeps them coming back.
Interested in Keap? Check out Keap pricing or start a free trial now.
- Amy Saunders – Sr. Content Creator, Keap; Co-owner, Strolleria
- Jennifer Leslie – Content Creator, Keap
- Sanjay Darji – Software Analyst, SoftwareSuggest
Complaints about banks and building societies
Things don’t always go right and as with any other service, you may need to make a complaint about your bank or building society.
On this page we give you information about what you can do if things go wrong, how to make a complaint to your bank or building society and what you can do if you are not satisfied with their answer.
On this page you can find information about:
For more information about Banking and making a complaint see Further help and information.
How the bank or building society should treat you
As well as the terms and conditions of your contract with a bank or building society, there are certain things the law says your bank or building society must do. A bank or building society must provide its services:
- with reasonable care and skill. This means, for example, that they must act responsibly and keep accurate records of your finances
- when it says it will. If they don’t give you a specific time, they must carry out the service in a reasonable time. What is reasonable depends on the service the bank is carrying out. For example, it should give a decision about your loan application within a couple of days
- at the price agreed. If a definite price has not been agreed, the price must be a reasonable one.
If they don’t do these things, you may be able to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
It’s against the law for a bank or building society to discriminate against you, for example, because of your race, sex, disability, religion or sexuality.
If you are discriminated against for one of these reasons, you may be able to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service. You may also be able to go to court but you’d need legal advice to do this.
However, there are some circumstances when a bank or building society can discriminate against you, for example, they may not let you open some types of account unless you fall into a certain age-group.
For more information about discrimination, see our discrimination pages.
For more information about getting legal advice in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, see Using a solicitor.
What to do if things go wrong
Before you make a complaint check that the problem has really been caused by the bank or building society. For example, the bank or building society is not responsible if you give someone else your bank card and PIN number and they use these to withdraw money without your consent.
Many problems can be sorted out quite quickly so give the company the chance to put things right. If the problem can’t be sorted out or you’re unhappy with the service you get from the bank or building society you can make a formal complaint through the company’s complaints process.
The complaints process
Banks and building societies are required by law to have a written complaints process which tells customers how to make a complaint. You should be able to find details in banks and building society branches or on their website. If you can’t find information about the company’s complaints process, ask them to send it to you.
Follow each stage of the complaints process. The bank or building society must investigate your complaint and give you a clear answer within eight weeks. They may send you:
- an initial response. This gives you the chance to go back to the company if you are not satisfied with their answer
- the final response. This is the company’s last answer or
- a response telling you that the eight weeks has passed and you now have the right to go to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). This might happen where the company is still investigating your complaint and isn’t able to give you a response yet. It’s then up to you whether you want to give the company more time or take the complaint to FOS.
If the company doesn’t send you a response within eight weeks or you are still unhappy, you may be able to Complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Tips for contacting the bank or building society
You can make a complaint in person, on the phone or in writing by letter or email, depending on how you bank. Here’s some tips for you to follow:
- contact the bank or building society as soon as possible to give them a chance to put things right
- keep a record of the date when you contact them. It may be important if you want to take the complaint further later on
- collect together all the information about the problem, for example, bank statements, cheque stubs and correspondence with the company
- if you make your complaint in person at the bank, take a copy of any documents and ask to speak to the person responsible for dealing with your account or the branch manager. Keep a note of who you spoke to and what was said. Try to follow it up in writing if you can, so that there’s a proper record
- if you make a written complaint, write the word ‘complaint’ at the top of your letter. This should make sure it goes to the right person. Send copies (not originals) of any documents with the letter
- explain your problem calmly but firmly. Put down all the facts including important dates and the names of anyone you spoke to in the company. This will help the company to understand what the problem is and to investigate it fully
- tell the company what you want them to do to put things right, including any compensation that you would like them to pay you
- always keep a copy of your letters in case you need them later on. You may want to send letters by recorded delivery so that there’s a record they were received.
Taking your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)
If you complain to a bank or building society and they don’t deal with your complaint or you are unhappy with their answer, you can ask the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) to deal with the dispute.
There are some basic rules for you to remember before going to FOS:
- you can only go to FOS after you have made a complaint to the bank or building society itself
- the bank or building society has up to eight weeks to deal with your complaint
- you must complain to FOS within six months of getting your bank or building society’s final response to your complaint or from the end of the eight week period if they haven’t responded.
For more information about FOS see Further help and information.
Using a claims management company
Claims management companies, also known as claims assessors, are firms that charge you a fee to help you take your complaint to the Ombudsman.
You don’t need to pay someone to help you make a complaint. You can call the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) helpline if you want to check whether your complaint is something they can help with. They can also help you fill in any forms.
If you do decide to use a claims management company, check that you understand all the terms and conditions of the agreement and how much the service is going to cost you before you sign anything. If you’re not sure about anything, take the agreement away to read and get advice before you sign it.
In England and Wales, claims management companies have to be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. You can check whether a claims management company is authorised on the Financial Conduct Authority website.
If you’re unhappy about the service you get from the claims management company, you can complain to the Claims Management Ombudsman.
The Claims Management Ombudsman is independent and free to use, and it can help you resolve disputes with claims management companies.
Going to court
If the Ombudsman can’t sort out your complaint, your only other option is to consider going to court. However, going to court should be your last resort.
Before you go to court, you need to think about whether you have enough evidence. You will also need to find out whether your bank or building society has any money. It’s not worth taking a company to court that has no money.
It is extremely rare for anyone to take a bank or building society to court. If you’re thinking about doing this, you should get expert legal advice.
If you decide to take the matter to court before complaining to the Ombudsman, you won’t be able to complain to the Ombudsman at a later date.
For more information about going to court, see Small claims.
Changing bank or building society
If you are unhappy with the service offered by your bank or building society, as well as making a complaint you could also think about switching to another company. It’s a good idea to check out the services and facilities offered by other banks and building societies to make sure they can give you what you need, before switching.
For more information about moving to another bank or building society, see Getting a bank account.
Further help and information
The Money Advice Service
The Money Advice Service website has lots of useful information about bank accounts and other financial products.
The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)
If you’ve gone through your bank or building society’s complaints procedure and they haven’t been able to help you, you can make a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
You can also contact the Financial Ombudsman Service’s consumer helpline on 0800 023 4 567 or 0300 123 9 123.
Complaints about trading platforms. When to consider someone’s feedback?
We notice you’re visiting us from a region where we have a local version of Inc.com.
Customer loyalty can be elusive, but it is imperative to running a successful business. In today’s hyper-digital world, there are myriad online forums that welcome venting and complaining. With the click of a button, an unhappy client could send your company or its sales into a tailspin. “Don’t underestimate the power of a disgruntled customer,” says Rebecca Morgan, an executive advisor and customer-service expert who authored Calming Upset Customers. “They wreak havoc in your organization because [complaints] upset everybody and, with these tools of Twitter and Facebook and Yelp, they can get the word out quickly.”
In truth, the customer isn’t always right, and it’s tempting to engage in heated arguments, especially when it comes to defending your business, employees, and even yourself. But if customer retention is the end goal, listening intently and sticking with a calm, collected approach will help troubleshoot even the toughest complaint. Customer feedback is a “gift,” says Ann Thomas, a senior consultant at Performance Research Associates, a consulting firm in South Bloomington, Minnesota, that deals with customer service-related issues. “I can’t fix the problem unless I know about it.”
How should you proceed once a complaint is brought to your attention depends largely on the nature of the customer’s complaint – and the severity with which it is brought.
Handling Customer Complaints: Shut Up and Listen
As simple as it sounds, the first – and most important – step to take when dealing with a complaining customer is to be quiet and listen. Often customers feel the needs to vent frustration with a product or service before even considering a proactive solution. “Acknowledge the customer’s emotional state,” Thomas says. Remember that a good empathy statement does not imply ownership of the problem.
Another key communication tip involves asking open-ended questions that involve the customer, Thomas says. This technique will not only divert focus from emotional frustration but also generate copious information about the problem at hand and help you arrive at the appropriate solution. “Rather than getting defensive … I need to simply listen to the customer, accept the feedback, thank the person, and then decide what to do,” she adds. As a bonus, the customer might feel appreciated and cared about, alleviating some of their emotional frustration.
Handling Customer Complaints: Don’t Take Anything Personally
As frustrating as it is to be the customer with a complaint, it’s no delight being the business representative who gets yelled at for a problem likely caused by something or someone else. But, Morgan cautions, don’t take it personally. “People say stuff, and they call us names, and they say we’re incompetent. Listen to them fully without interrupting, if possible, and then help them.”
Further, don’t respond to accusations or offensive complaining in a way that perpetuates the argument. Comments like “You did it wrong! That’s why you’re having a problem!” will only escalate the issue rather than deflate anger. Don’t get defensive. Instead, try a tactic Morgan advises: Point some of the blame on an inanimate object, such as an entry form or confusing instruction manual – problem-causing devices that, most importantly, can’t yell at you. This way, Morgan says, you acknowledge there’s a problem and, without finger pointing or putting anyone on the defensive, can work with the customer to agree on a mutually satisfactory solution.
Handling Customer Complaints: Ditch the Formalities
The last thing unsatisfied customers want to hear is a recitation of your company’s return policies. “Today’s customer expects to be treated as an individual, not as just another number who’s complaining,” Thomas says.
Consider the case of a department store with a 90-day deadline for returning an item. If there’s a customer who just got married, returned from her honeymoon and, at day 100, realized that a gravy plate adorned with doves is actually not her style, it’s worth looking into alternative options rather than sending her home right away. Your company should know that occasionally bending the rules will ultimately cost less it than it would to lose the customer or, worse, if the customer leaves and relays a negative story about your company.
Handling Customer Complaints: Avoid Overcompensating
A particular four-letter word usually does the trick when seeking a solution to a customer’s complaint: fair. “One of the key phrases, which not a lot of people use, is: what would you think would be fair?” Morgan says. “That word fair does seem to bring out in people a sense of, OK, this is reasonable.”
Otherwise, Morgan cautions, customers may jump at the opportunity to demand inappropriate freebies, like a fully compensated meal when a free dessert would be enough. Beside, the customer’s main priority is resolving the issue. Once that’s done, extra benefits or compensation are just filigree – albeit important measures to take if you want the customer to come back.
Thomas adds that if you ask the customer to propose a “fair and reasonable” solution, acting as a partnership with you to find a resolution, chances are it will consist of less than what you would have thought to offer.
Handling Customer Complaints: Patrol Customers’ Conversations on the Web
In today’s digital age, there’s no way of knowing exactly where a customer will choose to voice a complaint. From traditional hotline numbers and online feedback forms to Facebook, Twitter, and user-review sites such as Yelp, the Internet is the customer’s oyster as far as retaliation is concerned.
Customer service clientele should monitor as many media as possible to make sure all the bases are covered and no complaint goes unnoticed. Consider the case of Comcast, whose employees are authorized to use Twitter to respond to customers’ complaints online. “It shows the public that you’re listening,” says Morgan, who encourages employees to take advantage of these public forums and post responses on message boards.
Of course, direct communication is always the ideal, and if a customer’s contact information is given, the issue should be dealt with on a personal basis.
Morgan, who often leads seminars and has authored books about effective customer management, adds that once the complaint is resolved, it’s worth asking the customer to post again on the original message board and update readers – and potential customers – who may visit the site in the future.
Handling Customer Complaints: Responding in Writing
When drafting a written statement to respond to a customer’s concern, the same basic rules apply as when talking to a customer over the phone or face-to-face. Start out with something positive, Morgan says, and be sure to thank the customer for bringing the problem to your attention. Answer politely and affirmatively and, if the situation merits it, ask appropriate questions that will help to investigate where a service went sour, how to smooth things over with the customer and, finally, how to prevent the problem from reoccurring.
But, Thomas warns, pay careful attention to the tone of your letter. “If you find that the little hairs on the back of your neck are standing up, or you’re clinching your jaw as you write the email,” it’s probably worth your while to have a colleague edit the document before sending it.
Also, always follow up with verbal communication. Provide the best way(s) for the customer to get in touch with you – the more information you provide, like a cell phone or personal email, the more serious your troubleshooting efforts will appear to the customer. Thomas adds, “you can get a lot more done verbally than you can through writing.”
Remember that when penning a response, be it on formal letterhead or in a 140-character tweet, you are representing your company. Don’t write anything that you wouldn’t feel comfortable saying in person.
Handling Customer Complaints: Additional Resources
Turn Upset Customers into Satisfied, Loyal Customers. A seminar on how to calm, please and retain customers from customer service expert Rebecca Morgan. Books and audio on the topic are available here.
Pay Attention!: How to Listen, Respond and Profit from Customer Feedback by Ann Thomas. Wiley, John & Sons, Inc., 2020. This book, coming out May 24, 2020, offers a comprehensive, step-by-step guide to navigating customer feedback on the web and brainstorming solutions while keeping your competitive edge.
The Customer Signs Your Paycheck by Frank Cooper. McGraw-Hill, 2009. This book examines the components that make up great customer service and details effective strategies for dealing with difficult or unhappy customers.
Editorial Disclosure: Inc. writes about products and services in this and other articles. These articles are editorially independent – that means editors and reporters research and write on these products free of any influence of any marketing or sales departments. In other words, no one is telling our reporters or editors what to write or to include any particular positive or negative information about these products or services in the article. The article’s content is entirely at the discretion of the reporter and editor. You will notice, however, that sometimes we include links to these products and services in the articles. When readers click on these links, and buy these products or services, Inc may be compensated. This e-commerce based advertising model – like every other ad on our article pages – has no impact on our editorial coverage. Reporters and editors don’t add those links, nor will they manage them. This advertising model, like others you see on Inc, supports the independent journalism you find on this site.
The Best Binary Options Broker 2020!
Perfect For Beginners!
Free Demo Account!
Free Trading Education!