This week I want to talk about complaints and how incredibly important it is that you understand, as a business, how to deal with complaints!

So here are a couple of questions for you to think about. Number one, do you have a proper process in place to deal with complaints? Do your team members understand it, and do you test them on it? Next up, do you have some sort of a system for recording your complaints and have you used that information to improve your training or your processes?

Complaints are really useful because it helps you do better business. So let’s get to the meat of the conversation. You need a proper framework for being able to deal with customer complaints in a way that helps the customer feel heard and that you are on top of whatever issue that they have. Here’s a really cool framework that one of my clients uses, and it’s worked really, really well for them, and I think it could work really well for you. The framework is called “L.A.S.T.” Listen, Apologies, Solve and Thank. It’s really, really simple. First up is “Listen” When somebody raises a complaint, make sure that whoever is on the receiving end of that complaint takes the time to really listen, to understand what the customer’s problem really is. Next up is “Apologize”.

And I’m not talking about, like a half-apology where somebody says: – I’m sorry you feel that way. I’m talking about a proper apology from the heart. Tell the customer you are genuinely sorry, and you’re going to sort it out for them. Next up is the sorting out a bit, “Solve”. Customers don’t want to listen to all the reasons why you gave them a terrible service or something wasn’t quite right. They want it dealt with, so teach your people to solve the issues for them, either in collaboration with the customers or tell them this is what we’re going to do to sort it out for you.

Customers want solutions. They don’t want excuses or explanations, And next up is “Thank”. Thank your customer for taking the time and being courageous enough to actually share their issues with you. So many people don’t complain, many people are so shy about complaining until they get online, and then they tell the whole world, so when somebody says: – This is not right, I’m not happy. You should genuinely thank them for taking the time to voice their concerns so that you can do something about it. So there you go!

Really simple and so so effective. Listen. Apologize. Solve and Thank.

If you’re looking for more small business tips, then we’d like to see you every week on “Mind Your Own Business,”

Marco Soares is an award-winning business coach in Sussex and is available if you’d like help implementing these tactics.