No matter how professional you are as a massage therapist, there will come a time when you will have to deal with customer complaints. This can be an uncomfortable time for both the client and the massage therapist, but a complaint that is dealt with well and in a timely manner can turn an angry client into a valued and regular customer. The best way to deal with complaints is to have a documented policy that details exactly how complaints are treated, so that no matter who takes the complaint, the issues will be handled in the same way every time.
1. Acknowledge the Complaint
Listen to the complaint with an open mind, and ensure that the client knows you are listening. Maintain polite eye contact and do not interrupt. When the client has finished, ask probing questions to get the full details of the complaint, and then repeat the complaint back to the client to ensure you have all the details. As hard as it may be, try not to take the client’s complaint personally, but see it as an opportunity to improve your business.
2. Remain Calm
No matter the type of complaint, it is imperative that you remain calm. There is no point becoming angry with the customer and entering into an argument. Not only is this unproductive, but it will definitely cost you a client, and that client will have no hesitation in telling of their experiences with others, potentially costing you more clients in the future. Remain calm and civil, and ensure that you are profession at all times.
3. Document the Complaint Details
The complaint should be documented as soon as possible, detailing everything that the client is concerned about. This can best be done while the client is there, giving the details of the issue. This will also show the client that you are taking their complaint seriously and intend on following it up. Documentation should include the client’s name, address, contact number, and the issues raised clearly listed and explained.
4. Make an Initial Response
When the client has made their complaint known, issue an apology to them for their trouble. Try to empathise with them, and see the issue from their point of view. Often, a client just wants to know that they are being heard, and by being sympathetic to their problem you are giving them what they require at the time. Follow this up by giving the client some options on how you will go about resolving their issue. Let them know that you have accepted responsibility for resolving the issue and that you will follow it up as soon as possible. Always leave the client with your full name and contact details as well as ensuring that you have their name and contact details.
5. Resolve the Issue
Often, once a complaint is heard, it may be possible to resolve the issue immediately. If it can be, do so within sight and hearing of the client, so that they are aware that you are taking them seriously. Sometimes, it may be required to ask the client how they would like the issue resolved, and this could lead to a compromise situation with the client feeling satisfied that they were heard and that the issue was dealt with in a timely manner. If the issue cannot be resolved immediately, ensure the client that it will be investigated and that they will be apprised of the outcomes. If this occurs, ensure that you always give the client a return telephone call and advise them of the steps you have taken and that the issue has been resolved.
6. Thank the Client
Ensure that you thank their client for their feedback, and again acknowledge that have heard their complaint and will investigate. Sometimes it is prudent to provide the client with some form of recompense as an apology, like a free voucher for a massage, or even a free coffee or movie. This will reinforce to the client that they are indeed valuable to you and that your value their patronage.
7. Prepare for the Future
Prepare a document of policies and procedures for your clinic, and ensure that you have a standard policy for handling complaints. Keep a record of all complaints, suitably filed, to act as a resource on how to deal with similar issues in the future, or highlight key issues that you may be unaware off. Furthermore, this record could prove to be valuable evidence of the steps taken to resolve issues if the matter is escalated and taken to court.
A clinic with a well thought out police for handling complaints will find that clients with complaints are not a problem that needs to be avoided, but an important avenue to ensuring that your business meets the expectations of those that patronise it.