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Facing difficulties dealing with customers' complaints and retaining a better company image? The 10 proven ways we gathered could help you to handle the problems.
Who is responsible for the broken products?
There is a long chain through which the parcel reaches from the seller to the buyer. From factory to retail shops, then from retail shops to the shipment, and then finally to the buyer. To ensure the safety of the parcel, one needs to have a reliable chain. The packages and the quality assurance come from the seller; after the parcel is with the retailer, they are responsible. Finally, the carrier is liable if the parcel breaks.
What can you do to fix the problem?
Ensure that your shipping chain is reliable and there are no loopholes in the process. Ensure that the box carrying your product is of the correct size, check the product quality and ask that every item be wrapped individually to avoid potential breakage.
1. Don't be harsh or aggressive towards the customer.
It may be complicated to deal with customers as they may be enraged or furious at receiving a broken item. However, one needs to keep their nerves calm and be respectful towards the customer. Keeping a check on your tone and language is vital. Be precise but guide the customer properly about the whole process through which the customer will be accommodated.
Make the customer feel that you are on their side. For example, instead of saying 'you will have to dial the respective number.' Try saying, ‘we will need to try the number of the respective department to get this problem solved’. In this way, they will feel a sense of clarity. Lastly, don't rush the conversation; listen to the complete details even if they are irrelevant to show that your company cares for its customers. Customer's satisfaction ultimately determines the validation from the company.
2. Counter the query as soon as possible
When the customer receives a broken item, they become angry and file a complaint immediately. They expect a reply within seconds; taking too long might make them even more furious. Understandably, you cannot reply to the queries immediately but make sure the time frame is mentioned on your website, for example 'Replies within 24 hours’, needs to be ensured. However, the immediate response needs to be critically evaluated first and then must be sent to the customers, as the customer is already furious; this is very imperative. An easy way is to keep the readymade template for the different kinds of complaints, which will make the process quicker and easier. However, the typical templates might not work at times like these as the customer might think that the message was auto-generated; instead of keeping a light tone in the message would be advised.
3. Apologize, but no excuse.
No matter whose fault it is, make sure to make employees believe that the customer is always right. Upon receiving a complaint from a customer, a thank you message would make them calm. The message may contain 'thank you for your feedback,' etc. An apology is a must for the inconvenience that the customer faced, even if you think it was not your fault or the problem may not be possible to be resolved. Help the customer in every way possible so that they may not feel helpless or go against your company on social platforms, which will potentially destroy the image of your company among the other ecommerce platforms. An excuse is not an option; go through all the processes to help the customer, if not, bear the cost. Customers would never understand the procedures and policies of the company. All you need to do is make them satisfied. Make the price they paid worthy!
4. Ensure immediate replacement
After gathering all the details of the broken item, replacement of the product is on your end. Send a rider and accommodate the customer in every way possible. Bearing a small, short run cost is better than paying a higher long run cost. The word-of-mouth spreads like a fire in a forest. The primary goal of a company must be to keep its customers satisfied.
5. Repair it for free of cost
It is for the company to evaluate whether the repair cost is higher than the replacement cost. If not, then repairing free of charge is better. The best practice is to look for extended run benefits rather than the short run. If it takes too much time to repair an item, it is advised to replace it as the customer may not be retained, and again word of mouth may do its job. The refund should be the last option. The customer might not buy from you again if you do not accommodate them well. Refunding means that the company is unable to help the customer in any way, and they have chosen the easiest option. Try all the other ways first, for example, repair or replacement; if it becomes impossible, then only go for a refund.
6. Make sure the customer is not fraudulent.
When a customer makes the purchases, the complete details are collected from them, i.e., their contact number, address, email address, credit card details, and their name, which is a plus point for the company to find its customer if any fraud occurs later. But to ensure that the customer is honest, the conversation needs to be natural from their side. When the complaint is filed, ask the customer to send pictures and videos of the broken items.
Ask them the small details as to how the parcel was when they received it and for how many days was the parcel with them. The company needs to keep the margin of a few days to file the complaint by the customer, after which the company must not accommodate. A few indicators to detect the suspicions are if a different email address or a name is used to deliver on the same address. Secondly, different credit cards are used on the same address or the history of purchases from the same customer. In these ways, the company will be able to avoid fraudulent customers.
7. Keep a check on your policies.
The customer service employee needs to know the complete details of the company's policies so that they don't make a commitment to the customer, which later cannot be fulfilled; in this case, the matter might become worse.
To avoid situations like these, always ask the customer to give a little time, and you will get back to them with a solution. In the meanwhile, either go through the policy regarding that particular matter or discuss it with a colleague. In this way, the issue will be resolved adequately without a hassle.
8. Make sure to have a proper channel of customer service.
When the customer files a complaint for a broken item, they expect a proper process through which their problem would be solved. After receiving a complaint, if the employee doesn't know where to direct the customer or how to deal with the problem, the customer would be enraged. Suppose your company would not focus on the proper hierarchy in the office. In that case, the lack of communication and mismanagement will disrupt the appropriate dealing with the customer, which will ultimately make the company lose its customers.
9. Compensate if the product cannot be returned
There are many ways through which a customer can be compensated if there is no other solution for the broken item. Although repairing free of cost, refunding, and replacing the article is also a form of compensation, there are other ways too. As the customer is already unsatisfied with your brand, turn that into satisfaction by sending them a voucher for discounted products or sending them a gift item or a card as an apology. These little gestures will help your company to retain the image and satisfy the enraged customer.
Pro tip: send a voucher of your own brand so that it may help you with your marketing as well.
10. Respond to a complaint ASAP if posted on the social media platform
In the times of social media influence where people follow trends and believe in almost anything. If a customer posts something negative about your brand, which can be a broken item, it may disrupt the image of your brand in front of a million people, which is very dangerous for your company as you may lose sales.
To avoid this, reply to the post or the comment as soon as possible, ensuring the customer that the issue is in process. It will be quickly resolved so that everyone watching that post or comment will know that the company is taking responsibility for the problem. This will prevent you from negative publicity.
Pro tip: when the problem is solved from your end, post about it on social media platforms so that the customers would know that your company is reliable. Insert some popular hashtags for maximum reach.