4 Tips for Handling Complaints in the Retail Business


Angry customer at your retail outlet for more than 5 minutes? There must be something wrong with their complaint handling.

In the seminar on 4 Techniques for Handling Complaints in Retail Business, Djoko Kurniawan, Indonesian Business Consultant, will thoroughly discuss how to handle complaints so that customers are satisfied and even able.

Fact: so far, frontliners at retail outlets are not properly trained so they “can’t” handle complaints well

Topic: 4 Techniques for Handling Complaints in the Retail Business
Date: WEDNESDAY, 16 September 2020
Time: 14:00 WIB,
Via Online Zoom & Live Youtube

Avoid Internal Conflicts between Divisions

In the retail business, service excellence is needed. We must provide the best service to consumers, which is divided into two, namely internal services, namely between divisions/teams, and external services, namely to customers. If the internal service is not good then the external service will be bad too.

For example, one employee team has 5 people, and there are 3 of them who are in conflict. When the customer comes, he will feel the conflict. So external service will never run properly without internal service. Ensure that internally all employees have good communication and relationships, there is no principle of defeating each other in a group.

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Pay attention to customer wishes to match expectations

The point is that in providing services in the retail business, you must be like an artist or actor who is showing on the stage of the show. The concept is service and that is the stage of the show. The artist entertains the audience, then in the shop, the artist is the shop owner and employee.

An artist whose performance is good will be praised by the audience, and conversely, if it is bad, the audience will be disappointed. Likewise in the shop, friendly service, availability of goods according to customer needs, then you will become an extraordinary artist in front of the customer.

Customers who come have expectations, namely wishes. The expectations of each person are different, so that in order to fulfill the expectations of customers who come to the store, you must make preparations. With preparation either an artist or an actor will appear extraordinary. Likewise in a store, when all employees prepare properly, they can meet customer expectations. Then what should your crew prepare in the morning before opening the shop?

A good display, don’t let the display be boring, for example the red fashion products that are on display today, the next day don’t be red anymore. The location must be clean, no tissue scattered about, stains on the table, dirty glass. In addition, starting with morning prayers for all employees, checking stock, having a hygienic appearance and wearing masks, small money must be prepared for returns, female employees using make up, employees talking in a friendly manner, etc.

Indulge the 5 Senses of Customer to Increase Sales

Customers perform customer experience through 5 senses, namely the senses of sight, hearing (sound), smell, taste, and touch. If you pay attention to this in your shop, the customer will be satisfied and happy, then tell other people.

For example, from the sense of smell, in your shop, apart from using room deodorizers, there are things that must be considered, namely not to have bad breath or body odor, to the smell of socks/shoes. If those who serve bad breath or body odor, the customer will be uncomfortable. The smell of garbage must also be considered, not to let trash accumulate in the shop environment.

From the sense of taste, the food or drink served must be able to meet consumer tastes with a taste that is quite good, for example, food products must be fresh. From the sense of touch related to the skin, for example a soft seat, there is no dust on the table etc.

The success of a large-scale retail business is also due to its very focus on the five senses. You can make 5 senses based on the day, for example, Monday is sight day, Tuesday hearing day, Wednesday smell day, Thursday taste day, Friday touch day.

This means that on Monday, focus on merchandisers, focus on product arrangement, focus on employee appearance, focus on outlets that are easy on the eyes, focus on clean employee uniforms, and don’t have dirty stains. On Tuesday the sense of hearing, not just TV or music but what you say is heard well and the customer feels pampered. The salon business does not use rock music, but music with soft strains. Indulge the customer’s 5 senses, hopefully by paying attention to these 5 things there are no complaints.

If the customer perception is positive, the customer will be satisfied. For example, a consumer who walks into a retail store is given a friendly smile and is greeted, surely the customer will feel happy. If the impression that is displayed is negative, for example, the smell of the air in a damp shop, or a restaurant with a lot of flies, then the customer’s perception will be negative. The impact is that customers will no longer come to the store.

When a retail business does not focus on applying the five senses, the customer will file a complaint. Customers complain because they are not satisfied and something is not in accordance with their expectations. Complaints occur if what the seller does is not in accordance with the wishes of the customer.

Three types of complaints that you should pay attention to

  • Level one is that the customer speaks up and gives directly to the seller. This means that consumers directly complain to the seller.
  • Second, customers tell others about their bad experiences / complaints. This is dangerous, because the business do not know why the customer is no longer a customer. So if a customer protests, consider it a special gift because we are reminded to be even better.
  • Third, customers go to third parties such as lawyers to deal with legal parties or write in the media or groups/communities about their bad experiences/complaints, or they make official complaints to official agencies/agents.

So be careful what our customers perceive. When customers complain at level one be happy, at level two you have to be sad, and at level three you have to be very sad because this is a digital era. So just try to stop at level one. Every time you serve a customer, you have to ask if there are any deficiencies in serving the customer.

Techniques for Dealing with Customer Complaints

Then what are the techniques for dealing with customer complaints? Here are 4 ways to handle complaints from your retail customers.

  1. Be a Good Listener

    Listen carefully and show empathy, not only with the ears but also with the heart, even with the eyes. Also, do not consider the problem trivial, and put our position in the position of a complaining customer.

    For example, by saying we are sorry for the inconvenience that must have occurred. Hopefully, we can provide a solution.

  2. Use Correct Communication Techniques

    Correct communication techniques means don’t repeat questions from complaining customers. Besides that, don’t cause miscommunication, don’t feel you are truer than the customer and look at the customer’s face in a friendly manner. If the customer is angry for more than 5 minutes then you must immediately apologize to the customer. After that, just solve the problem.

    In communication avoid unfriendly words and always use magic words which when spoken make customers feel respected and happy. For example, sir, thank you for coming, let me explain. Also be careful in written communication, for example writing “you broke it, you bought it”, use the words apologies, be careful.

    In communication, there are REACH laws, namely Respect (respect), Empathy (ability to hear), Audible (can be heard or understood well), Clarity (clear), and Humble (humble).

  3. Understand Customer Problems

    Understand the problem properly and correctly by taking notes so that nothing is missed, learning to take the core of the problem, conclude and present the solution after knowing the problem.

  4. Provide solutions quickly

    The sooner the customer will not get into level two or three complaints. So ask for the solution the customer wants, don’t delay making a decision, make the customer happy and think the problem is over. When that happened the complaint was resolved that day. When the customer complains and the problem is resolved completely, he will become a loyal customer.


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