// Heidi McClean // Freelancer Management
We all like compliments. What a nice shirt! Great job on that presentation! Those jeans make you look skinny! But what about complaints? Can we honestly say that we always appreciate this type of feedback? Maybe not. But the best thing we can do for client relations is to treat those complaints as the gift they are.
Follow these easy steps to improve client relations
- Consider the complaint a gift. In customer oriented organizations, complaints should be embraced with the same anticipation and curiosity as if received in a beautifully wrapped little box. Complaints are gifts because they are our clients’ way of offering us a second chance to get it right. When a customer doesn’t invest the time and energy to complain, you’re in deep trouble. You’ve probably lost the advantage of knowing your offer has fallen short of expectations before the problem impacts your bottom line.
- Make it easy for the customer to give this gift. Giving key accounts a single point of contact is a great strategy, but what happens when the SPOC you’ve provided is the source of the dissatisfaction? That’s why executive relationships are vital. Giving your clients the ability to pick up the phone and share concerns directly with your upper management is the business equivalent of being one of Santa’s LinkedIn connections. Direct line to the gift man.
- Respond quickly. Clients know you’re busy. Sometimes simply making their concern a top priority is enough to smooth any rough waters. People want to be heard…and preferably before they forget what they said.
- Thank the gift giver. When someone gives you a gift you should, of course, express gratitude. In order to do so with authenticity, you have to truly see the benefit and opportunity in the feedback. If you don’t see if that way, work on your mindset. The highest form of gratitude you can convey is to fix the problem. Once fixed, make a call and acknowledge the mistake as well as how you have fixed the problem.
Handle complaints well and my guess is that you will have effectively turned a complaint into a bonding agent that will strengthen your connection with the customer. And that’s a great gift!
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