The age-old question: are your customers always right?

In a matter of speaking, they are…or they should be. Everyone knows it’s challenging to keep a smile on your face when dealing with a dissatisfied customer. I’ve found this might just be the best way to keep your cool…and your business.

You can think of customers like students. On a grading scale, they usually start off with an A in happiness, so to speak. They come into your store looking for a car—which is an exciting and emotional purchase. After that, it’s what type of customer service and products you provide that can start to chip away at your perfect score.

So, what happens when there’s a glitch in your customer service machine? Or how do you handle a customer with unwarranted criticism of how you handled a sale or a service issue.

First and foremost: stay calm. Then, focus on resolving the issue before it escalates.

Here’s how:

1)    Thank the customer for bringing the issue to your attention. Apologize for any inconvenience this might have caused him. Explain that customer satisfaction is your top priority, and that you will work together until s/he is satisfied.

2)    Be sure to discuss the issue in private. Always remove the conflict from public view in order to avoid a scene, and to keep your employees and customers at ease.

3)    Ask the customer to explain the issue. Listen, even take notes. Show the customer that you are engaged in the conversation and invested in saving this relationship.

4)    Summarize the customer’s questions and concerns. Make sure you are both on the same page, and then summarize next steps to correct the issue.

5)    Resolve the complaint. Hopefully, the customer leaves happy, and even becomes a return customer and referral.

How have you handled customer issues in the past? What methods tend to work best for you?