Golden Rules of Customer Service: Be Gracious When Dealing With Complaints
Being in the customer service industry means you work hard to provide quality service to your customers. Unfortunately, you’ll most likely experience a customer complaint at some point. However, knowing how to respond graciously to a customer complaint will ease the process.
One of the most common complaints quick lubes receive is, “My oil wasn’t leaking until I had my oil changed at your establishment.” If you get this complaint over the phone, suggest the customer come back to your shop so you can look at the car.
“First, I ask the customer to come into the shop because so many people call and think they can resolve it over the phone,” said Rick Rakow, manager of St. Cloud Quick Lube in St. Cloud, Minnesota. “I ask them to come in because we want to see what’s going on and what could possibly be wrong. Was it something we did? Is it something that happened as a fluke? We like to see them come in so we can assess the situation and fix them up.”
Another way to handle this complaint is to reassure your customer that you will take care of their concern.
“First of all, we do a lot of listening,” said Mike Johnson, owner of Express Oil Change in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. “We listen and then we go by the facts. We try to be as soft with customers as we can. We tell them we’re not sure why the issue showed up at that point in time. It could be coincidence, but we just try to smooth it over with the customers as best we can and reassure them that the plug is tight and dry and the filter’s not leaking. Or, if there is a leak, we tell them we’ll repair it.”
Another common complaint your shop might receive is that you didn’t add enough oil during the oil change.
“One of our most common complaints is that we didn’t put enough oil in their car,” Johnson said. “Again, we listen to the customer and get all the facts straight. We tell them we don’t know where the oil went, but we show them their oil dipstick indicating that it’s full. We’ll ask them to come back in three or four days so we can look at it again. After that, we have them come back in a week to look at it once more, so we can try to document how much oil their car is using.”
If a customer comes into your store, or calls on the phone, demanding to speak with someone, whom they speak with will depend on the circumstance.
“My cashier/greeter handles it first,” said Tim Cook, manager of Quick Lube Service Center in Auburn, California. “She’ll tell them to bring the car in so we can look at it. If they’re belligerent, then I’ll speak with them.”
Rakow said he’s the one who will speak with the customer to mend the situation.
“I’m the one who usually speaks with the customer because I can use a little more persuasion to talk to them about what’s wrong,” Rakow said. “It’s always our goal to make sure they’re satisfied, no matter what we have to do. Often, what they’re complaining about isn’t our fault. You just have to try to win them over, whether it’s through a free oil change, a discount or just being able to get them back into the shop right away to find out what’s wrong and fix the issue.”