The Art of Handling Customer Complaints


The Art of Handling Customer Complaints: Transforming Dissatisfaction into Loyalty. The customer had dined many times in the hotel restaurant in the past and was excited as he would order his favorite appetizer. 

The appetizer arrived, and he took his first bite. The sauce had a strange taste. The manager happened to pass by and asked if everything was okay. When he mentioned that the sauce had a strange taste, the manager dipped his finger in the sauce, put it in his mouth, thought for a moment, and said: "There's no problem with the sauce"...

According to a 2020 study, 58% of those who complain receive minimal to no satisfaction from how the company handled their issue - in fact, 65% reported feeling "upset and angry." Today, companies are losing more complaining customers than they retain, mainly due to ineffective customer care - a 10% increase compared to a similar study in 2017.

Who's to blame?

But why do we still continue to be quite ineffective in handling a complaint? Why can't we realize that through complaints, we can become better professionals and even better people? Why don't we realize that many complaints are gifts and that they are a last chance to retain our customer? There are various reasons that contribute to this:

✔️ Staff and employers still aren't trained in complaint management. They consider it insignificant, a waste of time.

✔️ The pandemic has made many customers unreasonable and rude with frontline staff struggling to handle them. At the same time, the number of those complaining to get something has increased.

✔️ "Understaffed" personnel experience burnout syndrome. In an era where 55% of hospitality businesses employ less staff compared to a few years ago, they cannot cope, especially when complaints are many and repetitive.

✔️ We hate criticism. We don't like to be challenged, to criticize our "baby." When they do, we show them that their complaints are not welcome.

In conclusion, complaints are the golden opportunity to excel, to show how good you are. It's your last chance to create excited customers. As long as you don't dip your finger in the sauce...

John Protopapadakis is a marketing and customer service/complaint management expert. He has been an author, a professor, a consultant and a seminar instructor. As a keynote speaker his speeches are content-rich and motivational.{alertInfo}

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