If you are in the service industry, then you should be ready to handle customers complaints. No matter how good your services are, there will be days when you will have a dissatisfied customer. How you handle even one case of a customer’s complaint can have a major impact on your ratings and reviews. Remember that no complaint should be dismissed rudely.
Handling the situation
- Listen actively: from the start, make sure the customer feels safe and understood. Do not be defensive from the start. Listen to their complaints and assure them that you empathise with how they feel. Do not become distracted or interrupt them when they express their feelings, as it might anger them further.
- Rectify when possible: If the complaint is about the food they have been served, offer to replace it for them. If they are not satisfied with where they have been seated, find them another table. Basically, do not spend a lot of time trying to argue when it is something that can be changed.
- Apologise where necessary: Learn the proper way to apologise which includes assuring the customer and the public where applicable that you regret the action and it will never happen. Do not drag the situation especially when it is clear that your restaurant was on the wrong and the customer has a right to be aggrieved.
- Assure them that they are valued: most customers who raise a complaint with a restaurant rarely return. Some of them imagine that the restaurant workers will be holding a grudge or treat them with coldness. When handling complaints, make them know that they are welcome to visit the restaurant whenever they want.
Try to make a follow up with a customer even after the issue has been solved. Call them or drop them an email to re-establish a relationship. This makes them feel valued. It also shows that the restaurant was genuinely concerned.