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Seb Anthony

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How to handle complaining customers on the phone


I am designing a short workshop on Complaints handling that will incorporate a new process we have along with soft skills referesher.

I am looking for a new way to train this out to our Marketing and accounts departments.

Thank you for your help.
Michelle Jardim

3 Responses

  1. Tackling complaining customers
    Design a short case study of a typical behavioural situation where they get complaining customers. During the session, split group into 2 syndicates. One syndicate group to work on tips and tactics around dealing with complaining / irate people (the theory). Other group to work on case study (the reality) – what they would do to turn around this situation. Encourage lots of behavioural detail, down to words they would use / use of voice etc. Groups to transfer their responses onto flipcharts. Post charts up and ask groups to visit other groups’ work and critique with a flipchart pen in a different colour i.e. tick if you like, x if you don’t agree, ? if you don’t understand and add any further ideas/suggestions at the bottom.

    Once done, review the comments, clarify the issues, ask the flip authors if they accept any challenges mentioned, and also compare the flipcharts – is the theory (tips and tactics) matching the reality (the case study)?

    The exercise certainly gets people on their feet doing things, and learning from each other. Delegates seem to enjoy critiquing – plays to a bit of rivalry.

    I have a couple of templates for this type of exercise if anyone is interested – just email me at [email protected].
    Hope that helps
    Happy Days!

  2. complaints-good thing or bad thing?

    This may be new to you or not but here goes.

    How do your people perceive a complaint? a good thing or a bad thing?

    Surely if a customer isn’t satisfied, and they don’t believe that you care enough to do anything about it, they won’t bother to complain. They will just bin your product and bad mouth you to all and sundry.

    So the fact that they do complain, to you, says that they have belief in you.

    If they have belief they will be susceptible to continuing to be customers.
    So the complaint is actually a chance for you to keep a customer and to make them aware that you do care.

    Thinking about a complainant as someone who wants you to prove that we are as good as they believe makes you behave in a different way than if you think of a complainant as yet another pain in the bum winge-er who probably didn’t read the instructions properly and now wants you to give them their money back.

    If the delegates see this in this way you will have half the battle won.

    If people see a complaint as a problem (and the complainer as a niusance) then no matter how good your process the attitude will still come across to the customer.

    If people see a complaint as a chance to redeem themselves and the complainer as a nice person who is, after all, GIVING them that chance, then you can have virtually no process at all and the complaint will still get satisfactorily sorted out.

    Here endeth the lesson


  3. I am with Rus on that
    A complaint is just a negative way of suggesting how you could make a positive improvement.


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