Client relations: 9 tips to better respond to customer complaints

Customer complaints: A hazard of the job.

Whether or not you want to admit it, every contractor has encountered a bump in the road when it comes to customer service. There are always a few of those clients who make the building process even more difficult, perhaps with a list of demands or ongoing complaints.

When conflicts arise, it’s never easy – and never fun — but finding a solution can be smooth and speedy if you take the right actions.

Here are a few tips to help you respond to customer complaints and help you improve your client relationship management moving forward.

1. Don’t be afraid of customer complaints

This is easier said than done but working with clients always means you’ll encounter client complaints. These grievances are nothing to be afraid of. For each client whose complaint you handle well, most will remain loyal to you and still recommend you to other potential customers.

What matters is how you respond to those complaints and improve your services going forward. Change your mindset and think of complaints as feedback that can make your construction business even better.

2. Create a customer complaints procedure

Have a simple complaints plan in place to help you mitigate any unnecessary conflict. Be prepared with a procedure so your client can formally record their complaint and so you can record your response and solution.

A good way to implement this would be an option for clients to provide feedback easily, like a specific email address or a form on your website.

Not only will this enable your client to be straightforward and open to solving the problem, but it helps your construction company, too. You can look back on this as a case study for future reference and improve any systemic practices to lessen any similar issues in the future.

You can even consider working with a client-first strategy to better involve your client throughout the building process.

3. Put your own feelings aside, act promptly and stay calm

The best way you can handle a complaint is by not letting your personal emotions get in the way. Calmly listen to what your clients have to say so you can best meet their expectations.

When you get to the heart of the matter quickly, you’re more likely to satisfy the customer and be able to move forward.

4. Don’t challenge client complaints

It’s human instinct to get defensive and want to tell a client that they’re wrong or have misunderstood. However, that reaction won’t help you solve the issue at hand.

To stop the customer from getting any more upset about their complaint, make sure they feel heard. Even if you might disagree, it’s important your clients feel valid in their frustrations before you can forge ahead in solving the problem.

5. Thank your client and practice customer care

Refer to the old saying: “Kill them with kindness.”

Let your client know that you’re thankful for their business and specifically for sharing their complaint or concern. While it can be a hit to the ego to hear negative feedback from a client, it truly can be an opportunity to improve your business.

By expressing gratitude, your client will feel appreciated and more willing to meet you with the same grace.

5. Decide what can be done to resolve the customer’s complaint

Even if you believe that the complaint is unjustified, it’s worthwhile to find a solution to make the client happy.

If you’ve listened to what your customer has said, you should be able to offer a few different options for what can be done to fix the issue. Of course, the ideal situation is always a simple fix, but keep in mind that resolving complaints is not a one-size-fits-all.

Supporting your client means meeting them where they’re at and finding the right options to bridge the gap. In the construction industry, resolving a complaint could look like fixing or redoing an aspect of a project, offering allowance or money, or discounting services.

6. Don’t make unrealistic promises while working with clients

Never back yourself into a corner by making promises, especially after a client has just filed a complaint. If there isn’t an outright solution to their issue, you don’t want to be stuck promising a simple fix. If no real resolution is available, consider how else you can help them so they’ll leave the situation with a sense of closure – or even better — a feeling of satisfaction.

7. Apologize

Let your client know that you’re sorry for any inconvenience or disappointment that was caused. You might be surprised by how far a genuine apology goes.

And remember: The best apology is changed behavior, so consider how this situation can inform future business practices. The best outcome of a client complaint is a happy resolution on their end – and a learning opportunity on yours.

8. Follow up

After you’ve managed a customer’s complaint by listening, supporting and apologizing, the last step is to follow-up. Reach out to your clients with a handwritten note, email or phone call and reiterate your care for the situation.

Show your clients that your construction business genuinely cares about their concerns and even consider sharing how their feedback has made a difference for your team.

You’ll also want to follow up to ensure that the problem was resolved, that a repair or fix was made, or that costs were updated on the client’s final bill.

9. Client relationship management with Buildertrend

The best way to mitigate customer complaints is by overcommunicating. Buildertrend removes scheduling, communication and documentation barriers so your clients can easily track progress on their build, connect with you immediately and enjoy a more organized process.

Use our Customer Portal to avoid conflict, and — even better – turn leads into sales with an impressive customer service framework.

Ready to up your client management game and say goodbye to stressful conflicts? We have your back. Schedule a demo today to take advantage of everything Buildertrend has to offer.

About The Author

Kamrin Baker

Kamrin Baker Kamrin Baker is a freelance copywriter for Buildertrend.

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