There are many ways to do things right with customers. Different roads that lead to different solutions that meet the needs of those who buy products and services from a company. But mistakes happen and sometimes the customer does not get what he expected. Something similar occurs in a round of golf, as the ball does not always fly as we thought it would when we prepared the swing.How should we handle customer complaints? Each time a customer doesn’t get what he expected, be it because an incorrect procedure or an unexpected event, it requires a different solution. In golf there are no universal solutions to handle every situation, and neither there is in business. Nevertheless, there are some guidelines of things to avoid doing that are useful for at least not making the problem worse and help finding a good solution in the shortest time.
1) Lying to a customer
If you do so, you take the risk of being discovered and, therefore, risk your customer’s trust. Lying to a customer is like cheating in golf –not dropping correctly, counting less shots…– so you must never do so.
2) Not paying enough attention
Any process may fail at some point and it’s almost impossible to assure at a 100% that something won’t go wrong. This happens in golf too, where even if the swing has been perfect many things can go wrong, as the ball can hit a small rock or a sprinkler. If something goes wrong and has an impact on a customer’s transaction, you must respond quickly and come up with a solution as fast as possible.
3) Not admitting the facts
When something goes wrong you must assume it’s your fault, even if it’s not. In golf you must have in mind that the only one hitting the ball is the player and, therefore, he is the only one responsible of the outcome. Blaming external factors as a tree, the grass or the winds is meaningless. In business, trying to avoid admitting that you have failed and do nothing about the problem is the worst thing you can do. You must take in consideration that nowadays many people use the Internet to look for information and reviews of a product or service, so a bad review can influence many potential buyers.
4) Ignoring customers
Avoiding giving customers an answer is not a way to solve problems either, on the contrary, a customer needs answers, even if they are not immediate and you need some time to find them, but you have to guide them towards a solution. In golf, when our swing doesn’t work, you look for professional advice to correct your mistakes. In business, when you handle a complaint that will need some extra time, you must inform the customer and don’t keep him waiting without any information, because that can lead to an unwanted public complaint.
5) Annoying the customer
An efficient customer service is key to customer satisfaction. You don’t want to make your customers call your customer service and have them going from one telemarketer to the other until they find one that solves their problem, because this is the kind of customer service that customers don’t like. It’s like when in golf you train with an inefficient strategy, practicing your swing but not your putt, which is also crucial in a round of golf.
In conclusion, take each complaint as an opportunity to show your customers that you’re ready to solve any problem they have. In golf, good players are those that are able to overcome failures. For example, Seve Ballesteros failed his swing with the driver in the 18th hole of the Royal Lytham and the ball ended in a parking lot. Steve did not ignore that fact and came with an excellent solution, a glorious shot to green that led him to the win in the 1979 British Open.
You don’t have to avoid complaints, on the contrary, you must confront them without fear. Satisfied customers come when things go as expected, but also when you are able to solve their problems.