Thursday, June 10, 2021

Customer Complaints - One of the Hardest Jobs to Deal with.

Receiving complaints or any kind of negative feedback never feels great. However, this kind of feedback can be a good opportunity to differentiate your business from others who may not be as efficient as you are when dealing with complaints.

When a customer complains, it is normal to want to react in a defensive manner as it is very easy for us to take any complaints to heart!

I suppose what we need to remember is that 1) we cannot please everyone all of the time, and 2) that balloons are destructible: they can pop, go down or be affected by the elements very easily.

Complaints happen and you will get them!

The perfect outcome for a complaint is that it goes away quickly and quietly, and without turning into a bad review online. You occasionally might have your suspicions that the customer has done something to damage the balloons, or maybe they expected the balloons to last longer. It is important to put that all aside and make it your goal to resolve the problem quickly, and definitely not to prove that you are right and that they are wrong.

Take time to listen and show empathy.

By listening to your customer, you can more easily empathise with their situation. This is also a good opportunity to ask questions and to gather any additional information you need to be able to offer a suitable solution. 

Decide on your complaints policy now.

It is so much easier to make a decision on how you are going to deal with complaints when you are not in the middle of all the drama that tends to follow a complaint. 

Some businesses offer a no-questions asked, time-limited replacement guarantee.

"If you have any problems with your order in the first 24 hours, we will replace it free."

Many companies have a Complaints Policy Statement that they display on their website:

If you have a complaint about our products or service please contact us as soon as possible so we can put into action a fair, confidential and effective complaint procedure. 

We endeavour to respond to all complaints within 1 working day and resolve complaints within 3-4 working days.

Refunds, partial refunds or an exchange will be given if the product is proved to be faulty or damaged and will be issued at the discretion of management 

This is your opportunity to decide on what your policy is and how you want to apply it. Take a look at what other businesses have done to see what their policies are and decide what would work best for you and your business.

Offer a Solution

Once you have identified the reason for the complaint, it is important to offer a solution as quickly as possible. You have listened to the customer and as much as you may not feel that the problem was your fault,  it is essential to avoid challenging them or allowing your personal emotions getting in the way, as this won't help you in your efforts to resolve the problem. 

Apply a solution: this could mean a full refund, a replacement or a credit for a future order, all depending on your complaints/refund policy. Make sure that your customer is happy with the solution and that the problem has been resolved otherwise you will still end up with an unhappy customer. 

Offer an Apology

Let them know you're sorry they were inconvenienced, disappointed or upset, then also thank them for giving you the chance to work it out with them. For many customers, this sincere effort goes a long way. 

Care Cards and Balloon Fact Sheets

I recommend supplying a Care Card or How to Care for your Balloons Fact Sheets, with every order. By giving customers information on how to look after balloons, this can often resolve and definitely defuse many complaint situations. There are many reasons why a customer might complain, here are just a few examples.

Complaint 1: It's a very hot day and a customer puts the balloons into a very hot car,  by the time they got home, the balloons have all popped - "My balloons were all faulty, they all popped!" 

Complaint 2: The customer places all the helium-filled latex balloons on the ceiling in their home and some of them pop! "My balloons were faulty, they popped when I got home!"

Complaint 3: The customer places her balloons outside "All my balloons went dull and cloudy, they are not what I asked for!"

These are very simple and basic complaints, however, if you inform the customer in advance that these things might occur, then you can prevent that complaint ever occurring.

Here are some different things that you can list on your fact sheet and also alert customers to certain situations when they purchase balloons from you... if you feel it's relevant at that time (like the weather) it is worth actually mentioning it to the customer before they leave your shop or store.

1. Balloons and Temperature: Please don't leave balloons in a hot car - helium expands in the heat and this could cause your balloons to pop! We recommend that you use air conditioning in your vehicle when transporting balloons on a hot day. If your balloons get rained on and start to droop, don't worry – they'll float again when dry. When helium-filled balloons are taken into the cold, they will temporarily deflate and will re-inflate again when warm. 

2. Balloons - Child and Pet Precautions: Balloons are not a toy. Uninflated or burst balloons can present a choking hazard and should never be left with children under the age of eight without supervision. Store balloons away from pets to ensure that they cannot get themselves tangled with balloon ribbons or accidentally ingest popped balloons or their decorative contents such as confetti, feathers, or other materials. If a balloon pops, clear away any broken balloons and any decorative contents immediately.

3. Balloons and the Environment: At the end of a balloon's life, cut the end of the balloon with scissors to remove any air or balloon gas, then dispose of it in the bin. NEVER release balloons into the environment. ALL released balloons become litter. They can get caught up in trees or power lines. Remember - Don't Let Go & Pin It and Bin It 😊

4. Balloons and Allergies: Most balloons are made of natural rubber latex and may cause allergies. Please look out for symptoms in case of allergies and seek immediate help.

5. Inhalation of helium: Inhaling helium can be dangerous and it is not recommended. It can deprive your body of oxygen and can result in a fatality.

6. Balloons and Ceilings: Lights, paint textures, irregular surfaces and even static can all pop balloons. If you are planning on placing your balloons on a ceiling, ensure that you test it first.

7. Latex balloons and Oxidization: Clear balloons become cloudy quickly when exposed to heat and sunshine. Coloured balloons will take on a velvety, matte appearance.

8. Balloons can Pop: While we use the highest quality balloons and take every precaution necessary with your balloons to ensure they last through your event, once the balloons leave our door or we have left the venue, they are out of our control.

As a business owner we need to be a master of all trades: designer, sales person, the writer of quotes and proposals, accounts manager and the one who responds to emails and messages, as well as social media expert! One of the hardest jobs is to deal with complaints! 

I hope this helps any of you who are not really sure how to deal with complaints.

Happy Ballooning! 


Follow me @suebowler

No comments: