What Is A Complaint?
If a product or service does not meet the customer's expectations and the customer contacts the seller or provider to rectify the defect, this is called a complaint.
A complaint is always related to a product property or a specific situation that is not okay from the point of view of the complainant.
A customer books a room with a sea view, but gets a room with a view of the parking lot. The customer then goes to the reception and complains with the aim of getting a room that meets her booked requirements.
The basic attitude of the person handling the complaint should always be neutral towards both the complainant and the subject (Ich bin okay, du bist okay).
Step 1: Active Listening
What matters is that the complainant feels that he is being taken seriously and that he is given the time he is entitled to for his concern. The person handling the complaint should let the complainant finish speaking and show him by nodding in between times that he and his concerns are being actively listened to. This can be underlined, for example, with accompanying noises („ah", „mmh", „yes", „I see...").
It is important to maintain eye contact with the complainant and to repeat the facts once the complaint or concern has been resolved. This can be initiated, for example, as follows:
"Did I understand you correctly that...?"
By repeating the facts of the case, the person handling the complaint can cleanse the situation that the complainant emanates from, which may be emotionally charged, and bring the conversation back to a more factual level. This calms the complainant down and neutralizes the atmosphere of the conversation, so that a constructive solution can be found.
Step 2: Understand The Perspective
The person handling the complaint should be able to put themselves in the position of the complainant in order to understand their point of view. It is important to show understanding and to appreciate the complainer. Blame should never be laid openly on the complainant. On the other hand, it is also not recommended to take the blame as a complaint handling person in order to calm the complainant and end the situation quickly. Of course, the person handling the complaint should acknowledge his guilt and stand by it, if he really has it ..
Step 3: Question Details
The person handling the complaint should scrutinize the details very carefully in order to be able to clarify the situation constructively. These can be explicit questions for more detailed information. The more information he receives from the complainant the faster and more satisfactorily the complaint can be processed in a way that makes sense for both sides. It is important to understand what the customer is really about and to ask for all the information that is necessary for this.
"What exactly do you mean by...?"
Step 4: Suggested Solution
If the recipient of the complaint is completely clear about what is at stake, a solution proposal must be submitted to the complainant. For this purpose, commonalities should be found on a factual level that bring agreement on both sides. This gives the person handling the complaint the opportunity to propose a solution or, if necessary, a change to the complainant through which the defect can be remedied or compensated for.
Step 5: Obtain Consent To Implement The Solution
Before implementing the solution, it is important that the person handling the complaint obtains the complainant's consent. This ensures that both sides agree with the solution.
"Do you agree that...?"
"Do you agree that...?"
Step 6: Thank You And Goodbye
After the situation or facts have been clarified constructively for all parties, the person handling the complaint should politely thank the complainant for presenting the complaint before dismissing it. This gesture once again underlines the service concept and that the complainant is valued.
Step 7: Take Care Of The Solution!
Finally, it is necessary for the person handling the complaint to take care of the solution (promptly). This leads to a level of trust and shows that complaints are taken seriously and processed quickly. Promptly asking the customer, whether the complaint has been dealt with satisfactorily creates trust and shows that the customer's opinion is important.