We have noticed a steady increase in the number of customer complaints of late. Does this have something to do with the general negativity in the country or maybe people just want a free meal or are we cutting corners in difficult times?
Which or whether, in every walk of life problems can happen-it is how we handle these problems is what matters. Problems or complaints should be referred to the Manager. It is important to deal with a problem or complaint in a polite, professional and prompt manner. Never leave a customer fester, deal with a problem straight away.
A problem dealt with correctly can in fact turn out to your advantage.
Be honest! If there is going to be a delay tell the customer and apologies. Maybe a glass of wine could be offered at this stage! Do not respond to anger or rudeness with anger.
We established a food safety consultancy in 2000 and to date none of our clients have had issues with product liability or litigation. The key is the correct handling of customer complaints.
So what steps must you take when a customer complains?
- Listen, ask questions.
- Identify the key points. Are they big or small issues or is it a series of issues?
- Sympathies say sorry and say you understand. Empathize!
- Thank the customer for bringing the problem to your attention.
- Explain what you are going to do( Refer the matter to your food safety consultant)
- Next opportunity – now follow up.
The above steps should be part of your Customer Complaints Procedure. Staff must be familiar with this procedure and trained to handle difficult situations & clients.
If a grievance is handled in this manner, the complainant will become an ambassador for your business. Believe me!