How to properly deal with a consumer customer service complaint

Customer satisfaction is always our top priority.  We work closely with clients to design their project, plan for it’s execution and complete it on schedule.  But construction can be tricky and unforeseen circumstances may occur.  Typically, as you keep up communications with the client and they are involved as a virtual team member, these bumps in the road can be handled and worked through in a consultative way.  But sometimes, regardless of all efforts by you and your team to make things run smoothly, a customer will complain.  Now, how should that complaint be dealt with?

The most important step in resolving any customer complaint is to listen closely to what the customer is saying.  Talking things through in person, on the job site, and understanding what the actual issues are will go a long way toward reaching a resolution.  Nothing provokes an elevation of frustration more than the feeling that “I’m not being heard” or “you aren’t being responsive.”  Communicating the details of why things were done a certain way will diffuse many situations.  Present yourself as the expert, but be patient and understanding throughout the process.  This person has an immensely personal stake in the outcome of the project and they need to understand the details of why you’ve performed a task in a certain way.

It’s also important to be honest with yourself and if the complaint is valid, it needs to be addressed.  Things can and do go wrong in the construction process and sometimes you’ll need to take something apart and do it again.  Tearing out a driveway because it dried faster than you anticipated and the broom finish didn’t take on the last section will seem painful, but it may be necessary.  You’ve explained from the beginning that 100% satisfaction is your goal and if an error was made, it needs to be corrected.  This is a great place to restate the obvious: good onsite supervision and great communication with the client throughout the project will make the settlement of these issues infinitely easier.  First, fewer errors will occur because of your diligence at the job site and second, the customer feels like a part of the team and is also pulling for a quick and successful conclusion.

It’s important to recognize why dealing proactively with a customer complaint is so important.  These days clients can and do post reviews of your work on social media platforms.  Keeping those reviews positive is the life blood of your business and “whatever it takes” to make them happy needs to be your baseline.  A negative review can be overcome, but it takes a lot of positive feedback to counteract it.  Keeping it from getting posted by addressing your client’s concerns quickly and thoroughly is clearly the best option available, regardless of the circumstances.

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