3 Steps To Handling Complaints (And Why Field Service Businesses Have It Rough)

phones go crazy during you field service business' busy seasonYou’re busy. No, that’s not accurate. You’re CRAZY busy. The phone is blowing up, your crews are working long days, the paperwork is piling up.

And then a customer manages to track you down while you’re in the office. And tells you about a problem. And for field service businesses, it doesn’t just mean shifting things around with a phone call… it means moving people and equipment around town. Their problem is now your problem(s).

  1. You have (potentially) a pissed off customer
  2. You have to pull a technician off an already tight schedule
  3. You’re going to have to find a way to make things up

So what do you do?

First, recognize this as feedback, not just a complaint.
It’s an opportunity to understand how your services were interpreted by a customer, and that’s important. Maybe this customer is a small segment of the never-happy, but most likely there’s a genuine problem that needs to be addressed. You can learn how the problem happened, which means you can learn how to avoid it in the future.

And be humble. Fall on your sword, admit there was a problem, and tell the customer the specific steps you’re taking to fix it.

Second, this truly is an opportunity.
You are being given an extra shot at delighting this customer. Just fixing the problem shouldn’t be sufficient. How can you fix the problem and regain your customer’s trust (because it dipped a bit)? Maybe it’s a credit to future services. Maybe it’s getting someone there while you’re still on the phone with them. Maybe it’s sending them a hand-written card saying sorry for the mix-up, and thanks for your business. Whatever you do, make sure you go beyond the simple fix.

Third, manage the schedule.
When you’re busy, scheduling can be a nightmare. And, because of Murphy’s Law (“anything that can go wrong, will”), things will happen. So why not plan for them!? Build in response times and emergency  or “on call” room with your regular scheduling.

The number one thing you can do to handle a problem?
Respond quickly, and with confidence. The customer doesn't just want the problem fixed. They want to know that you're going to take care of them.

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