Resolving Customer Service Complaints & Conflict

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  • 0:02 Creating the Best Outcome
  • 0:29 Understanding the Issue
  • 2:17 Determining Options
  • 3:09 Presenting a Solution
  • 4:24 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Chelsea Miles
Dealing with customer complaints can be a challenging task, but when you have the tools to help you understand the customer's concerns and how to resolve them, the result can be a happy customer.

Creating the Best Outcome

When customers present concerns, they want them handled quickly and effectively. As the person helping them, you want to understand the nature of the issue and assure the client you are there to get the job done. Sometimes, however, the customer disagrees with the solution or can be downright difficult during the resolution process. This will require you to diffuse the situation and negotiate the best outcome for the customer and you.

Understanding the Issue

Let's look at a customer complaint scenario in which you're an associate at an electronics store. A customer, Ms. Smith, has a television she bought from your store three days ago, and the picture is distorted and won't clear up. To help Ms. Smith, you need to understand the issue and customer needs by doing the following:

  • Listening to the issues
  • Understanding the desired outcome
  • Confirming you understand
  • Affirming you can help
  • Managing the issue

You know the issue is that the picture is distorted. To manage the issue you need to uncover information by asking clarifying questions and determining the best path to resolving the issue.

By asking questions, you determine that the problem wasn't caused by mishandling the television, and you learn that Ms. Smith wants to exchange the TV for the same brand and model. To determine the best path to resolve the concern, you review your options. Your store no longer has the same brand and model in stock, but you do have a similar brand and model with additional features that Ms. Smith's model doesn't have. Knowing that Ms. Smith only wants the brand and model she bought, you recognize this will take a little negotiation. Negotiation requires the following:

  • Understanding what is important to the customer
  • Knowing available options
  • Understanding what you or your company is willing and able to offer
  • Determining the best solution to resolve the concern

So let's review what you know. Ms. Smith wants the same brand and model television that she originally purchased. Your store is out of that brand, but has a similar TV. You could present this option to Ms. Smith immediately and hope that she accepts the solution. But, you decide it might be better to know all the options first. In negotiations, it's best practice to understand all available options.

Determining Options

When you were asking questions, you learned that Ms. Smith has a warranty covering a repair, exchange, or refund of her TV. Your goal is to avoid a refund and get a replacement TV for Ms. Smith.

You consider your options in order of how you'd like to resolve the concern:

Option 1: Offer an exchange for a television similar to Ms. Smith's model but with additional features she didn't have on her original television. Offering an upgraded model provides an immediate solution for the customer.

Option 2: Offer to get the model Ms. Smith wants from another store. However, Ms. Smith will experience a delay before receiving the new TV.

Option 3: Send Ms. Smith's TV to be fixed. However, this will be an even longer delay.

Option 4: Refund Ms. Smith's money, but this means Ms. Smith will have no longer have a television.

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