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Want to reduce your customer complaints? This is exactly what your team need to know.

Want to reduce your customer complaints? This is exactly what your team need to know.

Customer complaints present a variety of consequence, not just including a loss of time and money.

Every time a complaint comes in, you have to pay for the resources to deal with it (whether it’s a team members time, or some form of discount or refund). You’re spending money which could otherwise be used to invest in sales, marketing, or other profit generating areas of the business.

Is there a requirement to have resources for complaints? Absolutely yes! When complaints occur (and they will, no matter how great you think your company is), it’s imperative that they’re handled effectively. In these situations, you can either be the villain or the hero.

Problems present a cracking opportunity to show how well you resolve problems and therefore gain trust.

Even though they’re great opportunities to go above and beyond for customers and improve your services, I think we can all agree it would be better to reduce (or better yet eliminate) complaints. Right?

Happy customers equal more business and an increased profit, so we would be crazy to think otherwise!

At POD HR and Training, we help businesses with advanced customer service training. What this means is, we go above and beyond the standard skills training and teach NLP communication techniques to empower your team. This means that they’ll have every tool available to have a calming influence on customers, get to the heart of the problem quickly and effortlessly, and find agreement in all situations regardless of the hurdles they need to overcome.

Throughout this article, we’ll be giving you an insight into some of the tools we teach to customer service teams for complaint handling which have a proven track record of reducing customer issues and improving business results.

people looking at customer complaints and asking advice from their team

What your team can do to prevent complaints in the first place

One of the best ways to help customer complaints is to prevent them from happening from the get-go!

You don’t need me to tell you how important it is that your team deliver outstanding customer service to keep your customers from going to your competitors.

Times are changing and a lot of industries are so over saturated with great businesses that small mistakes can cost you big time. The digital world is evolving and your competitors are so much easier to find. All you need is a computer and an internet connection to know you’re not the only company that offers what you do!

If you don’t give your customers a reason to choose you, they won’t need to.

With this in mind, I shouldn’t have to explain to you that your team need the right knowledge and skills to stay ahead of the game. These skills are no longer an option if you want to succeed, so I’m going to go over what I would consider mandatory skills for any customer-facing team member.

Developing energetic rapport

It’s not enough to just be able to build rapport anymore. You need to go beyond that to really impress a customer. This is where energetic rapport comes in.

What this means is when you’re able to meet your customers’ energy with the same intention and interest. This builds a fast connection and it far supersedes any ‘matching and mirroring’ of body language.

When you get this right, you can make a customer feel like they’re the only customer you’re dealing with and they’re your top priority. I’m sure you can understand how powerful that can be!

On our training programmes, we show professionals how they can work with their own energy to develop presence and really connect with the customer they’re interacting with. This works for both in face AND over the phone, so all kinds of interactions are relevant.

This has proven to be extremely successful and we haven’t had any complaints yet (see what I did there!).

‘Chunking up’ language patterns to find agreement

This is an NLP technique called the ‘Hierarchy of Ideas’.

This technique uses language patterns to take someone outside of the specifics and into the big picture. In doing so, it becomes easier to find agreement.

Once you’re in agreement, your team can then gradually work back down to the specifics while maintaining this agreement and work in harmony with your customers. This is absolutely the best way to find a speedy resolution to small problems before they become too big!

Meta Model questions to dig deeper into issues and expose the reality

The Meta Model is used to get to the root of a problem.

It brings a magnifying glass over the specifics and digs down into the deepest part of the issue. Using this technique almost guarantees there will be a resolution, rather than just putting a plaster over the issue.

When you expose the real issue, the customer may think about the whole situation differently and resolve the problem on their own. Even if they don’t, when you have the real facts of the situation rather than their emotional judgements you can resolve an issue far quicker.

people sitting in a circle making notes on how to reduce customer complaints

Milton Model language patterns to influence and engage the customer

The Milton Model is an artform.

It’s a combination of language patterns which influence and change the whole direction of an interaction. When you use these patterns you can get more of your message heard and understood by the customer.

Instead of them being blinkered and stuck in their own viewpoint of your product, you can adapt their thinking to see your product from your eyes. This can be extremely valuable when repairing breakdowns in communication or resolving any issues. There are specific language patterns that give choices to help the customer feel empowered, rather than like they’re being told what to do.

Mind management to create a sense of inner calm and strip away any defensiveness or impatience

A relationship killer is someone that just doesn’t get it. They’re too busy and constantly interrupts because they want to express their view or their point without properly listening to the customer.

It can be difficult to accept feedback when things go wrong. However, there are NLP techniques that we train in order to help customer service professionals stay calm under the pressure. This helps them remain present and at ease, allowing the customer to follow their lead and relax into a more productive conversation.

Reframing techniques to help the customer view situations from various angles

Reframing loosens up peoples rigid conclusions. This helps them experience the situation differently and from all angles. All the explaining in the world won’t change your customers’ mind if they believe they’re right!

The only way you can do that is to change the belief by going below the surface and use language that strikes a chord at a deeper level.

This can be done in as little as one sentence. All you need to do is use the language the customer has created within their mind and create a neurological change, causing them to view it differently. That’s what reframing is all about! We have an infographic on this here…

Conscious use of language (avoid must, should, and but)

I can run a days worth of training on this one alone!

In fact, I ran a training session just the other day on this and the team was brilliant! They had several revelations about how they were using language and why they weren’t closing sales.

Language creates our world. Every time we hear language or see it written on a page, it plants a seed in the mind.

What seeds are your team planting?

If they’re using ‘must’ or ‘should’, chances are they’re rubbing your customers the wrong way. They’re authoritative and assertive words that will automatically bring up the defences.

If you want a great customer relationship, they need to feel empowered and comfortable. ‘Must’ and ‘should’ are like the bullies of language. It’s like they’re having a finger pointed at them and being told off!

Train your team to use works like, ‘perhaps you could’ or ‘is it possible you could’. You’ll get the desired result without using force.

The same could be said of the word ‘but’. By saying “I understand what you’re saying sir BUT this is our process”, all you’re doing is telling the customer you’re not actually understanding them at all!

We have plenty of free resources on the power of language which you can check out in our learning centre.

Alternatively, if you’re interested in developing your team and considering some training for them, you can email me to discuss what we can offer you at natalie@podhr.co.uk or download our bespoke training brochure here.

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