Operations

HOW TO: Resolve Customer Complaints

Posted on October 4, 2013 by - Also by this author

Immediate Resolution: When a customer is upset enough to contact you about a complaint, a fast and easy resolution to the problem could keep the customer long-term.

Situations Vary
Customer complaints in our industry can vary from being dissatisfied with the vehicles provided to mistakes made by a chauffeur or driver. The most important part of handling a complaint is listening closely to it. It may take a different approach to please each customer. Let’s say your vehicle had a flat tire while traveling. How you handle the situation should be based on the length and effects of the disruption. Obviously, if the customer missed a flight, it’s a big problem. If the chauffeur changed the tire and the delay was about 15-20 minutes, a simple compensation of a half hour of time may satisfy the customer. But if the client is irate about it, he or she may demand a complete refund. You must decide based on all factors presented whether you want to give a total or partial refund.

Credit Card Companies
Unfortunately, many people don’t want a confrontation with you, as the vendor. They might just pick up the phone and call their credit card company to ask for a refund. Companies such as American Express pride themselves on being an advocate for their cardholders. In most cases, the credit card company will immediately take back the money from your account until the dispute is resolved. If this should happen, it is best that you contact your client. Remember, the client called the credit card company to avoid speaking to you to begin with. Have a cheerful attitude and start off the conversation saying you are calling to work with them to resolve the matter to their satisfaction. If you succeed, have the client call the credit card company to report the resolution. Meanwhile, provide all requested documentation to the credit card provider to protect your company and be responsive. Don’t forget that you, too, are a customer of the credit card companies. You pay them fees for every transaction and you have every right to insist they hear your version of what went wrong and that you expect them to back you up as a merchant.

Have a Grand Plan
There are certain things that are bound to happen once in a while just because of the nature of our business. This includes mechanical breakdowns, late vehicle arrivals and last-minute vehicle substitutions. Have a plan for each incident. It might include a $50 credit towards future travel, a gift certificate to tour holiday lights in the season, or whatever you want to offer. The point is, for recurring issues, a single phone call should result in a resolution and every person who answers your phone should be empowered to make the offer and be done with the issue in that call. But make a plan.

What’s Your Suggestion?
One of the easiest ways to handle a situation is to turn it around and place the resolution back on the customer. When they call, they probably have an idea of what would make them happy. Just ask them, “How can I make this right with you? I want you to be happy when we finish this call, so what is your expectation?” At this point, be quiet and listen. If the request is reasonable and you want to salvage the business relationship, honor the request. If it isn’t reasonable, make a counter offer.

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