Customer complaints. A tricky subject. Understandably, customers want the best work for their money. However, sometimes customers can be completely unreasonable when it comes to complaints. Then what do you do?
Well, we’ve teamed up with Scruffs Workwear to take a look at top tips for dealing with customer complaints.
1. Better bring them back down to Earth!
One of the issues that arise when customers are complaining is that they lose their perspective. When that happens, things can escalate quickly.
In fact, one tradesman revealed that he had a customer ‘full-blown screaming’ at him recently after he installed their CCTV camera. Why? Because the customer had originally requested that the camera was only needed to watch over the general area of their home.
However, by the time the installation was finished, they were no longer happy and wanted a more advanced camera to do things such as super zoom in on a pebble!
Scruffs added, “when a customer is being unreasonable it’s important to let them have their say, gently guide them back to earth too. Remind them of what is achievable given the time frames, budgets and what was agreed prior to the work starting.”
2. Try and get them to see things through different eyes…
When complaining about work, things can get emotional pretty quickly – especially if a customer feels that they are spending their hard earned money on something they’re not happy with. So, once a customer is no longer clouded by emotion (they might need a good rant before this), it’s important to explain why something is not the way they want things.
Scruffs added: “If there’s an explanation behind why things aren’t exactly how a customer wants them, then this needs to be made clear.”
“Without this, the customer will be left unhappy and resentful towards spending money on something they’re not 100% happy with.”
“If complications cropped up along the way, be honest and have a discussion about why things are not as intended or expected.”
“Or, it might just be that what they imagined simply isn’t achievable. So, try and encourage them to see things through your eyes.”
Of course, this isn’t always achievable either and instead, customers are adamant in their views. For example, one tradesman was trying to explain to his customer that the universal tv bracket that they had purchased for a curved 50-inch tv wouldn’t work as the bolts were too small. Despite showing her the correct bracket needed, the customer remained unreasonable and actually stated that the tradesman was never to step foot in their house again!
3. Could you offer an alternative?
If possible, could you offer an alternative? If a customer is being unreasonable, chances are they want what they want, end of. Consequently, they may not be open to explanation or reasoning. Therefore, the only way of diffusing the situation may be to offer an alternative solution.
Scruffs continued, “weighing up whether or not to offer an alternative solution can be a tough one.”
“On the one hand, you may not have done anything wrong.”
“However, on the other, could the negative word of mouth tarnish your reputation?”
“Either way, it’s important to consider all the outcomes before leaving a job where the customer is unhappy.”
4. Draw the line and say goodbye!
Sometimes, customers are completely unreasonable with their complaints. No matter how hard you try, nothing is going to change their mind. In fact, one tradesperson told us that they’d had a completely unreasonable customer recently whose problem was with the fact that his apprentice kept following him around!
They even tried to forcefully get him to stand in the hallway with his tool kit for no reason! Not only that, one tradesperson also had a complaint when he was working in a shop because his ladders were too loud. Shocking!
In the end, when customers are being completely unreasonable, it might be better to say goodbye and leave it at that. It could result in losing out on any work the customer needs doing in the future but to be honest, would you want to work for them again anyway?
Scruffs added, “the customer is always right… well, not always. Nevertheless, the customer is always the customer.”
“Unfortunately, in their career tradespeople will have to deal with one or two completely unreasonable customers.”
Ever had an unreasonable customer? Well, let us know your most shocking stories in the comments below for the chance to win a selection of new Scruffs products including Trade Flex Holster Shorts, a Worker Polo and Worker T-Shirt! Good luck!