No matter the level of customer focus at a dealership, there will be times when a customer complaint must be addressed. While there is a small portion of the general public you’re not going to please no matter what you do for them, most people just want to believe they are being treated fairly and, as such, every complaint should be taken seriously.
Customer Complaint Remedies
∙ If a customer complains to you or one of your associates, the first thing to do is sincerely acknowledge their complaint – and listen to it. Did you notice we said sincerely acknowledge it? You can quickly lose someone with an apathetic response to their issue. It’s also important to completely hear them out. Let them finish! Repeating back what you’ve heard can also be an effective tactic.
∙ Whether they tell you in person, on the phone or online, it’s very important that you get back to them as quickly as possible. Sadly, many complaints go completely unanswered – and the Better Business Bureau says it is most damaging when a consumer complaint is not responded to at all. To make matters even more serious, just imagine what an unsatisfied customer can do to your reputation should they decide to write about their perception of the experience online!
∙ Put yourself in the shoes of the customer … then act accordingly. You’ll know you have succeeded when the customer feels you are on his/her side collectively dealing with the issue; and the last thing either of you wants is to get into an argument. Think about the following questions.
How would you want a dealership to respond to you?
How quickly would you want them to respond?
From whom would you like the response to come?
How could the dealership meet and/or exceed your expectations in solving the problem?
∙ It also bears mentioning that this is not the time to blame a coworker if they did something wrong. As long as the customer knows your concern and apology are genuine, this typically goes a long way toward diffusing a difficult situation. Reinforce your sincerity by continuing to say you want to help them.
∙ Finally, if you have done all you can and still can’t solve the customer’s problem, it may be time to involve someone else who can. Just be sure the customer does not get passed around from employee to employee.
The best dealerships have the fewest complaints but even the greatest ones still have the occasional issue. But when they do happen, if they’re handled properly these are the very customers who can turn into your most passionate advocates!
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