I love the quote, “Think with your whole body” from Taisen Deshimau (1914-1982), a Japanese Sōtō Zen Buddhist teacher. For us at Canity, it defines the way we like to approach to dealing with customers.

Handling a customer’s complaint efficiently and effectively takes the whole body – figuratively and literally. So how can you teach your staff to do so in a memorable, engaging way? We’ve developed a handy little guide to help you and it starts from the head, and goes right down to the toes.

The Head

Don’t leave your head in the clouds or bury them in the sand. Focus your undivided attention on the customer. It’ll reassure them that they’re your #1 priority.

The Ears

We have 1 mouth and 2 ears for a reason. Listen carefully to the whole complaint, so you know exactly what the problem is. Once they’ve spoken, they’ll feel better having vented and you’ll know what’s going on.

The Mouth

When they’re done, first thank them for bringing the issue to your attention – they deserve to be acknowledged for doing so. Secondly, repeat the problem back to them using the same terminology to confirm you understand and reassure them accordingly.

The Heart

Open your heart and empathise with how the customer is feeling. To save a disgruntled customer, they need to feel like you identify and emotionally understand their frustration/anger. Express how you would feel in their situation and let them know that you truly understand how they’re feeling. This allows the customer to relax, as they’re not going to be attacked for their complaint.

The Hands

Now is the time to roll up your figurative sleeves and take some very literal action. Find a solution for the customer and ask for their permission to go ahead with your plan. Establish an accurate timeframe so the customer knows what to expect and provide your contact details, so that the customer feels like they’re receiving personal attention and can contact you directly in the event that future assistance is required.

The Legs

Legs aren’t for running away, they’re for following up. Once you’ve handled the complaint you need to ensure that the customer doesn’t feels like a pacified nuisance, but a genuinely valued business partner. Follow up on the call once the resolution has been carried out and make sure that the once unhappy customer is now satisfied. It will also present an opportunity to capitalise further on your relationship and retain them as a repeat customer.