Having systems and procedures are extremely valuable to us, they help us to get the job done in a professional and efficient way.  Without them, your staff could flounder and find themselves in a difficult situation.

For example, what happens when a customer isn’t happy?

Imagine a busy day in your office, you may be short staffed and the phones are ringing like mad when a customer calls with a complaint.  It may be the last thing the staff member expected and she’s not prepared.  The customer is unhappy and relays the reason why, his tone is not friendly. 

We have all been on the receiving end of an angry person at some stage and it’s not pleasant, it is easy to take it personally and to get upset.  This has the potential for the situation to get out of hand, especially if your staff member has no idea what to say.

This is when having a process in place can be a life saver. Your staff member can feel confident in resolving the issue by responding to the complaint rather than reacting to it. This is likely to placate the caller quickly and bring the matter to an agreeable and speedy conclusion.

If you are feeling horrified by the thought of having to go to great lengths to get a process in place, rest assured, it doesn’t have to be complicated.

You can put together a simple formula for the staff to remember.  When it comes to complaints our team use the word HEAT to help them.

H is for hear; this is a reminder to listen fully. Give the customer a chance to explain what he is unhappy about.

E is for empathise. Try and look at the situation from the customer’s point of view and be understanding to his plight. Let them know you intend to help them.

A is for apologise. Let the customer know that you are sorry they have had reason to complain and thank them for the opportunity to put it right.

T is for take action. Tell the customer how you can help them and let them know what the next step will be.

Our team have always been encouraged to go the extra mile and dealing with a complaint is often an opportunity to demonstrate a genuine desire to help.

There are many areas of your business where you can apply a standard method or procedure. By giving your staff the gift of a process, you will be helping them to carry out their job in a more professional and efficient way. You can encourage them to create new methods or improve existing ones. It will probably result in a ‘thumbs up’ all round.  Good luck.