When people get excellent customer service, they usually tell two or three people. When they get poor service, they tell ten to twelve others!

Indeed, companies worldwide lose billions each year due to poor customer service—reason enough to make it your priority.

What is more, research consistently shows that word of mouth recommendations and referrals are often key drivers of new business.

Here then are three ways to get your customers telling other how well your company treated them.

Practice Active Listening

People crave to feel understood, heard, and served, and active listening is a key step towards meeting those needs.

Active listening involves using both verbal and non-verbal messages such as:

  • Maintaining appropriate eye contact (don’t stare or glare, keep it friendly), nodding your head and smiling (a powerful way to affirm you understand and are interested in the person)
  • Saying ‘Yes’ or simply ‘Mmm hmm’ to encourage them to continue (which doesn’t mean you agree with everything they are saying)
  • Mirroring their posture and facial expressions (which convey sympathy and empathy in more emotional situation)
  • Refraining from fidgeting, looking at your watch, or doodling (which convey the impression you are mentally elsewhere)
  • Leaning slightly forward or sideways when sitting, or slightly tilting your head to one side (which signals you are interested in listening to them).

By providing this ‘feedback’ the person speaking will usually feel more at ease and therefore communicate more easily, openly and honestly.

Use Positive Expressions

Words and body language are powerful, and using them thoughtfully can create trusting relationships with your customers.

For example, don’t dwell on the customer’s negative experience. Use phrases like “Great question, I’ll find that out for you!” and “I’d love to understand more about …” to gently encourage the customer to move forward.

Consumers want to feel connected, so also look for common ground to make a quick connection.

Above all, it’s vital to stay calm and positive, even if the customer is angry. Rather than getting defensive, try to empathise with the person by stating, “If I were in your shoes, I’d likely be upset too. But give me a chance to set this right.”

Remember always to focus on what you can and will do, as opposed to what you cannot or will not do. The solution may not be exactly what they’re asking for. But by focusing on what you can do instead of denying them their chosen solution, it means that you’re still offering a remedy.

Always end each conversation with the question, “is there anything else I can do for you today?” so they have one more opportunity to ask another question and you know you’ve done everything you can to resolve the issue.

Follow Through

Once you and your customer have agreed on a solution, make sure you implement it immediately. Nothing will frustrate (and anger) a customer more than them feeling that they have been ignored or forgotten.

Don’t let them stew. Tell them what you will do, when you will do it, and when you will get back to them to update them on your progress. Keeping the customer informed and will show them that you care about them and are doing your best to help.

When you have resolved the customer’s concern, send them a follow up email or message to ask if they are entirely happy with your service. This is a very important step, and one that very few businesses take.

By reaching out to a customer following a complaint resolution, you’ll discover whether or not you actually did resolve their concern and if they were happy with the outcome.

At very least, your contacting them will serve as a fresh reminder of the great customer service they received.

Taking these simple steps will set your business apart from the rest.

It will prove to your customers that they’re important to you and that you do actually care about them.

Conclusion

Customers with complaints will appreciate it when you practice active listening, respond with positive expressions, and keep them in the loop until their problem is resolved.