It sounds crazy to say that sometimes the best thing that can happen to your business is to receive a customer complaint. After all, isn’t the goal to have a perfect, spotless record and avoid uncomfortable interactions with clients at all costs? Perhaps, but that’s not realistic.

The reality is that every company will face negative customer feedback at some point – in spite of the best training, execution and intentions. We are only human, and humans make mistakes from time to time. What makes a business stronger is not running from these challenges but instead rising to meet them and recognizing that these situations are actually great opportunities.

  • To improve your customer service skills.
  • To strengthen your client relationships.
  • To build customer loyalty.

But to turn these negatives into positives, you must do the following:

  • Discuss the issue directly with the customer or client with the complaint, even if you have to initiate the conversation. Listen and make sure you understand what is being said – and make sure they know their voice has been heard.
  • Remain professional and resist the urge to react in an emotional way. By controlling your response, you are controlling the situation. A negative reaction will only make it worse.
  • Admit when you’re wrong. Don’t lie about or make excuses for mistakes. Apologize if you’ve failed the customer in any way.
  • Tell the customer or client what you’re going to do to rectify the situation. Making the person with the complaint part of the solution process is key to resolving the issue.
  • Fix the problem.
  • Follow up with the customer or client to communicate that the negative situation has been handled and ensure that he or she is satisfied with the results.

In order to implement these steps in service recovery, businesses must also make sure they have properly trained their employees. At Ambassadors Plus, we place a tremendous emphasis on associate training to prepare our front-line people to handle any situation that may arise – good or bad.

The great news is that customers and clients are also human, so most will be reasonable to deal with if they feel they’ve been heard and action has been taken to correct the problem. Negative complaints offer us several positive outcomes: 1) the opportunity to learn from our mistakes; 2) the chance to create stronger client partnerships based on trust and respect; and 3) the prospect of more loyal customers who appreciate a company who listens and responds to them.