If your company delivers poor service, terrible service, or simply didn’t deliver whatever level of service was expected by your customer, you will likely hear a complaint — either in-person, on the phone, via email, or in an online review (or all of the above).
As a company that is (hopefully) interested in delivering excellent customer service, you should thank your customers for this negative feedback no matter how hard it might be to hear, as the alternative is that they say nothing to you and simply go elsewhere. Your business visits decline, your profits evaporate, and you’ll never know why.
At least with a complaining customer you have an opportunity to not just assuage their unhappiness but to listen for lessons to prevent this outcome in the future. If the complaint is made in a public forum like Yelp, Google Reviews, or any of the other social media platforms, you have a chance to respond in public and show everyone who is reading and following the post that you value the opinion of your customers and want to make things right.
Here’s what you don’t do: COMPLAINTSPLAIN
I’ve coined the term Complaintsplain to define the scenario of a company that thinks an unhappy customer can be made happier if they only understood that all the crappy service they received is justified because of internal policies and procedures. It’s not that they failed to deliver adequate customer service, is that you don’t understand how hard their job is or how busy they are or whatever other feeble excuse they feel justifies the complaint of an unhappy customer.
You don’t wait for a customer to finish telling you how your service fell short and then launch into an excuse-laden rebuttal about how they (the customer) needs to understand how your business works.
Your complaintsplaining of the situation doesn’t make them happy, doesn’t make them feel heard, and certainly doesn’t leave them with the impression that their next experience with your company will be any better than their last.