For many businesses, November and December are the busiest months of the year with orders piling in and, unfortunately, a corresponding increase in invoice queries, disputes, product returns or replacements.
Receiving a query or complaint does not necessarily mean loss of a customer if the issue is dealt with swiftly, professionally and with the customer’s best interests in mind.
Whether the complaint relates to an invoice or the quality of your product or service, the key is to have a process in place to solve it.
Gordon Ramsey’s “best restaurant” series last year demonstrated that the best-quality food cannot compensate for mistakes made front of house. Equally, poor quality food cannot be “covered” up by fantastic service.
When you receive a complaint, do your “front of house” (sales and marketing) and “kitchen” (back office support and accounts) departments communicate effectively? Does each department know what it is authorized to offer to resolve an issue and if so, is this communicated internally and to the customer? Having a solid query resolution process in place is particularly important during busy periods when staff members are stretched and under time pressure.
January is the perfect time to review these processes and to implement any changes before the next busy period.
Offering the customer a solution in response to a mistake, instead of sweeping it under the carpet, demonstrates honesty and trustworthiness and will be crucial in retaining that client’s business.
Dispute Process checklist at a glance:
When you receive a customer complaint or query, it’s not inevitable that you will go on to lose that business:
Ensure phones are answered promptly and professionally.
If your message states calls will be answered within 24 hours, make sure this is done.
Have a process document in place to allow all staff to offer simple, immediate solutions.
Log all queries and investigate recurring issues, updating your policies and procedures accordingly.
Have an escalation process in place which allows complex queries to be solved within a reasonable timeframe.
Ensure all staff taking customer calls can see the status of queries.
If you always do what you have always done,
You will always get what you have always got.