Follow these ten steps to alleviate customer complaint calls and save your company name:

COMMANDMENT #1: Express appreciation for the feedback. “Thank you for telling us about this. We appreciate customers who let us know when things aren’t right.”

COMMANDMENT #2: Show empathy. Empathy can be a powerful tool to disarm an angry customer. With compassion in your voice, say, “It must have been very frustrating for you to have this error in your account. This is TERRIBLE. I am so sorry.”

COMMANDMENT #3: Apologize. Research tells us that when an apology is perceived as genuine, customer satisfaction increases 10 percent to 15 percent. “If I were in your shoes, I’m sure I’d feel just as you do. I’m sorry for the frustration you have experienced.”

COMMANDMENT #4: Have a sense of urgency. Ninety-five percent of complaining customers will remain your customers IF their problems are resolved immediately. Whenever possible, resolve the problem before you finish the call. If not possible, immediately set the time by which you’ll get back to them.

COMMANDMENT #5: Ask for necessary information. Note that this is step 5… not step 1. First establish rapport and trust. Then ask for needed information.

COMMANDMENT #6: Assure resolution. It is possible that your customer fears the problem can’t be solved. Assure the customer. “I understand the issue and I’ll get this taken care of right away.”

COMMANDMENT #7: Communicate with the customer about what you’re going to do. It is imperative that you inform the customer of the steps you will take to resolve the problem. They expect and deserve to know how their situation is being resolved.

COMMANDMENT #8: Fix the problem. Solve the problem as quickly as is humanly possible.

COMMANDMENT #9: Ask the customer if your resolution meets their satisfaction. The chance exists that your idea did not match their idea of a satisfactory resolution. Be sure.

COMMANDMENT #10: Source the root cause of the problem… and fix it. Do this as insurance so that the same problem doesn’t happen again for a different customer.

Create a complaint checklist. For each problem and customer, have the employee check off these standards so that they uniformly impress each complaining customer.