Keeping your existing clients happy is a vital part of your business.  If you want to establish stability in your cashflow you need to maintain your repeat customers.

The best way to do this is to train your staff on the proper way to handle complaints.  Handling a complaint is very similar to the process that we use for handling objections.

Here is an acronym to help you and your staff remember the process:

-L is for
. Don't take offense or get emotional when a customer comes to you with a complaint.  Simply stay calm and listen with a smile.

-A is for
.  Tell them that you are sorry for the inconvenience.  A can also stand for ask a question.  Make sure you clarify the problem before you address it.

-S is for
Solve the Problem
.  Quickly offer a solution.  You should offer your customer something enticing right away.  Don't be cheap or proud, never try to convince your customer that they are in the wrong.  It is well worth a short term loss in exchange for a long term loyal, promoter customer.

-T is for
Thank Them
.  Thank your customer for bringing the problem to your attention.  By doing so this customer has highlighted an area in your business that may be turning countless others silently away.

Remember that a person that complains really wants to like, and help you.  They may actually think the world of your business and have built it up to their friends only to find it fall short in some way, thus causing some minor embarrassment.  They want to be able to brag about you, the process above will give them reason again.

This process may seem like common sense to you but you might be surprised at how many of your employees don't know this.

Every person on your team should be trained in sales and customer service, not just your sales team or receptionists.  Your customers will likely come into contact with other members of your team, a maid, cook, or handyman for example, and will expect the same level of service that your front end has provided them with.

Also don't hesitate to give even your lowest level employees the ability to give a discount.  Having to fight through two levels of managers to get a free meal, or even just an apology, can be a very traumatic ordeal for your customer.

6/24/2012 02:44:39 pm

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