Late payment practices continue to adversely affect UK small businesses and self-employed...
From having a clear complaints-handling procedure to training staff and improving systems, use our checklist to better manage customers' complaints.
- Actively encourage feedback from customers - including complaints if they are dissatisfied.
- Establish a clear complaints-handling procedure. Ensure that all employees who come into contact with customers understand it.
- Respond as quickly as possible, especially when the complaint occurs on social media.
- Be polite and sympathetic, and avoid knee-jerk reactions or anger. Listen to what the customer has to say.
- Take ownership of the complaint. Give your name as a contact even if you will have to involve others in resolving the complaint.
- On social media, give a polite public acknowledgement and then take the matter private straight away: do not allow things to play out in public.
- Establish the facts. Consider whether any internal investigation is needed to gather further information.
- Record the details of the complaint, including when it was made, customer name and contact details.
- If possible, deal with the complaint immediately. If necessary, agree a deadline for getting back to the customer.
- Carry out any necessary further investigations.
- If the complaint has potentially significant legal consequences, contact your legal adviser.
- If the investigation takes a long time, keep the customer informed of progress.
- Once you have established that the complaint is justified, make appropriate restitution. Apologise for your error.
- Be prepared to reject unreasonable complaints or demands, but in a positive way: explain what you can offer.
- If appropriate, take internal action to prevent the problem recurring, for example, by training staff or improving systems.
- Follow up by contacting the customer to check that the complaint has been resolved to their satisfaction.
- If the complaint was posted online, consider asking if the happy customer would remove it or post a follow-up stating that the matter is now resolved.
- If a negative comment stays online, consider how to reassure other customers. For example, by stating what measures you've taken to improve the issue or posting testimonials from happy customers.