Commercial Property

Three Golden Rules For Handling Customer Complaints

As a business owner, one of the most stressful things to deal with is a customer complaint. The trick is to never ignore a complaint, listen to the customer and try and turn what they perceive as a negative experience into a positive one.

Below are the three golden rules for handling customer complaint: 

1.  Thank the customer for taking the time to complain and apologise

No matter how successful your business is, you should never take your customers for granted.  The fact they have made the effort to return to your organisation and complain about a product or service means they are providing you with an opportunity to build your relationship with them further.

Thank them for this.

Also apologise.  This is not an admission of guilt on your part, it is simply good manners.

2.  Believe the customer has a valid complaint

Business owners fear the ‘professional complainer’ but realistically they are few and far between.  Most customers are busy people and only complain about a product or service if they believe they have not received what they asked for or the quality was not up to standard.  Put yourself in their position – this will instantly give you an empathetic approach and allow you to come up with solutions quickly.

3.  Understand your customer’s legal rights 

The Consumer Rights Act (the Act) 2015 provides the legal rights of consumers when purchasing goods or services in the UK, whether it be in a shop or remotely (i.e. by phone or online).

Under the Act, goods must be:

  • of a satisfactory quality;
  • fit for purpose; and 
  • as described

Under the Act, a customer has a legal right to reject goods that are of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described, and get a full refund within 30 days of purchase.

If the customer complains about an item or service outside of the 30-day rule, then you have an opportunity to repair or replace the item.

If a fault is discovered within six months of purchase, it is presumed that the fault existed at the time of purchase and the onus is on you, as the seller, to prove otherwise (there is an exception to this rule for motor vehicles).

After six months, the burden is on the purchaser to prove the goods were faulty at the time of purchase.

Consumers can bring a claim in the Small Claims Court up to six years after the product was purchased.

To find out more about your legal rights if a customer is complaining about a product or service they have purchased, search for a commercial law expert on Solicitors Guru today.

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