Why you should forget everything you learned about customer service


angry customer

When a client comes to you with a complaint, what should you do? What if it is a perceived error, and nothing is actually wrong? We make mistakes because we are human.

Sometimes we are perceived to have made mistakes even when we have not but we still need to handle that expectation; especially when it is coming from someone we care, namely our customers or our loved ones. 

Collectively let’s called them your “client” on this article. These are just some of our best practices on how to handle these situations.

Choices in Responding to a Complaint

Of course we can ignore a complaint. Here we are talking about positive responses and yet there are many ways we can respond to that.  They are:

  1. We need more info, we will look into it when we have the info; or
  2. We have the info, we are working hard to find the causes of the problems; or
  3. We have all the info and the diagnosis we need, and we are working on the solutions; or
  4. We have the solutions, here it is; or
  5. We have the solutions; also we have the preventive mechanism and measure to make sure this problem will not happen again; or
  6. We have the solutions; also we have the preventive mechanism and measure to make sure this problem will not happen again; in addition here is the compensation for your trouble.

Timeframe in Responding to a Complaint

It is important to respond to your complaint within a reasonable timeframe, mostly determined by your client. The rule of thumb is within hours, never longer than a day.

Look into the Minds of your Clients

Unless you know the complaint is not legitimate and all your client wants is to chat with you, your client wants a solution.  That is, the additional information you need to gather and the diagnostic you do are all means to the end.  All your client wants is the solution. Your client would also appreciate if you can come up with a mechanism and measure to prevent the same problem from happening again. In addition, everyone loves compensation, your client is no exception.

Decision Points

Use your time wisely. Before you respond, determine if you have enough time to gather more information that you need for diagnosis.  If you do, gather the information your need and proceed to diagnostic. Gather as much information as you can get and do as much diagnostic as you can within the timeframe and your availability.

On the contrary, if your client knows it would only take one phone call to find a piece of information you need, do not respond that you need that piece of information before you can do any diagnosis. All you are telling your client is you do not have the time to make one phone call. It can be hard to swallow.

Show your client that you care. The further you do down that list, the more your client would appreciate.


Author: Nelson L

Graduated with an Honor degree in Computer Science and MBA. Both from the University of Western Ontario in the 80's. Seasoned entrepreneur in web and mobile database technology. Invented Rintagi automated development platform which simplifies mission-critical database application development and maintenance via drag and drop, with the ability to rejuvenate itself and the applications it generates constantly as technology advances. Rintagi generated applications are currently managing billions of dollar of assets for financial and oil & gas institutions. Recent inventions include automated index predictions engine and automated prototyping/development tool that can create responsive web applications.

8 thoughts on “Why you should forget everything you learned about customer service”

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