Industry

Good Customer Service: How to Handle Customer Issues

Resolve customer issues with this four-step plan.
Photo Credit: ATA

Author: Cassie Scott

Customers give your business life. But they can also give you headaches. If you solve a customer’s issue or problem, your business reaps endless benefits.

All businesses face customer problems. A Gallup study of over 13,000 customers found that about six in 10 customers reported problems with at least one company the previous six months.

Although such problems are inevitable, there’s a silver lining. According to the Gallup article series, if you solve those problems, your business can increase customer engagements, improve brand perceptions, and gain loyal, appreciative customers.

Kurt Smith, the Archery Trade Association’s director of industry relations, said archery retailers receive many customer complaints, but two issues occur often. Let’s explore these situations.

Does your store face these common problems? Photo Credit: SmallBizClub

Problem No. 1

The Issue: A customer feels robbed, “ripped off” or taken advantage of when a retailer’s prices are higher than prices found online.

Why it’s Problematic: When customers think they aren’t getting good deals, they’ll take their business elsewhere. When those situations happen, the customers sometimes aren’t comparing the same online products with the in-store models, nor are they including setups, repairs, tuning or other labor into the price.

 

Problem No. 2:

The Issue: A customer buys a product, but it soon fails or breaks.

Why it’s Problematic: Many customers demand the product be fixed or replaced immediately, even though it wasn’t the retailer’s fault. And because ordering parts and scheduling repairs take time, the customer can feel rejected or ignored while waiting for their equipment to be fixed.

Sound familiar? Read these tips for remedying these situations (and others), and turning customers’ frowns upside down!

 

Listen

“Customers generally just want to feel heard,” Smith said. “Do your best to listen and understand why they’re upset.” When a customer vents, listen carefully and try to understand their perspective. The Forbes article, “7 Steps for Dealing with Angry Customers,” agrees. Listening defuses situations when customers feel acknowledged.

Let the customer know you understand and you will do what you can to resolve the problem. Photo Credit: Unsplash

Apologize

After you understand the situation and what’s wrong, apologize and express sympathy for your customer’s unpleasant experience. According to a Forbes article, simple, straightforward statements suffice. Try, “I’m sorry you’re not happy with our product. Let’s see what we can do to make things right.”

 

Resolve the Issue

Take responsibility, study the situation and find a solution. If a customer complained, make it your priority to resolve the issue. No one likes to be juggled between employees or hear information repeated by multiple representatives. The Gallup study, for instance, found that people are more likely to be satisfied if they contacted the company once and worked with the same representative until resolving the issue. It’s OK to consult your boss, check the product warranty, and confirm the repair policy with a manufacturer. Just let the customer know you’re working on it.

Work quickly to remedy the situation while considering your financial health. You don’t want to constantly lose money by replacing defective parts that a manufacturer isn’t reimbursing. Smith said it’s important to have standards, but to also know when to break from them if it’s necessary and fiscally responsible. Just be kind, polite and respectful while satisfying the customer with excellent service throughout the process.

Reach out to the customer to make sure they're satisfied with the solution. Photo Credit: Unsplash

Follow Up

Follow up with customers to ensure they’re satisfied with the solution, or that their product was repaired. Call or email them within two business days to verify their satisfaction.

The best problem is one you don’t have. Smith said most issues start from a lack of communication. If a customer complains about an expensive price, make sure they know they’re buying value and service with the product. Customers want quality products, so be upfront about the price, warranty and return policy to help them understand why some products cost more than others. Always be upfront to avoid surprises later.

For more information about good customer service strategies, contact Kurt Smith at kurtsmith@archerytrade.org and read these articles:

Pro Shop Advice: 7 Tips for Better Customer Service

Why (and How) You Should Respond to Customer Reviews

Create a Profitable Customer-Rewards Program

How to Read Your Customer’s Facial Expressions to Generate More Sales (with Emojis)

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