How to Respond to Complaints the Right Way in English

13 days ago
No one likes to deal with complaints. It's uncomfortable and stressful. But if your job is to work with customers or if you have a neighbor who's unhappy with you, ...

English subtitle

Hi I'm Anne Marie with Speak Confident
English and welcome to your Confident
English Wednesday lesson. Now it is no
surprise that dealing with complaints in
any language is really awful. It is
uncomfortable, it's stressful.
No one likes talking to an angry
customer or someone who's upset. Last
week in our Confident English lesson we
focused on how to make a complaint when
something happens to you and you're
upset. You want to fix it. But we also
need to understand the other side -- what
to do when someone makes a complaint to
you. Maybe your job is to fix problems
and handle customer complaints. Or maybe
something happens with your neighbor and
they're kind of angry at you and they
come to you with a complaint. What do you
do to keep that relationship with your
neighbor? Or what do you do to keep a
client so that they don't leave you for
another company? That is what we're going
to focus on in today's lesson.
Okay so today is all about how to
respond to complaints the right way in
English. And we're going to focus on four
simple steps that you can use and follow.
And I'll help you with the language that
you should use -- language that native
speakers use every day to handle
complaints in the best way. We're going
to focus on how to listen,
apologize, take action, and then follow up.
But let's get a little bit more in depth
with each one. Now the first step is to
listen. Listen to the person making a
complaint and that seems easy right? But
did you know that in English we actually
have sounds and words that we use to
show that we're listening? In some
cultures it's perfectly normal to stay a
hundred percent silent when you're
listening to someone but not in English.
Here are a couple of things that you can
do to effectively show that you're
really listening, that you really care
about the complaint. You'll often hear
native speakers make sounds like mm-hmm,
I see,
yeah. All of those little sounds mm-hmm,
yeah, I see those sounds indicate that
we're listening to you or listening to
another person. And if those sounds or
words are new for you, if they sound a
little silly, practice using them on your
own. You can practice when you're by
yourself but those are really important,
especially if you're talking to a native
speaker to show that you're listening.
Now since we're talking about responding
to a complaint,
you can use those sounds and words to
show that you're listening and then you
can also use a few questions to help
clarify the situation or make sure that
you understand it. And again, this shows
that you really care, that you really
want to understand the problem. For
example you can say something like, "Could
you tell me a little bit more about what
happened?" Or "Could you tell me exactly
what happened?" And finally, "Let me see if
I understand this correctly..." and then you
would summarize what you understand
about the problem. Now that you've
listened and you understand the problem,
the next important step is to apologize.
this can be the hardest step because
maybe you don't think anything is really
wrong, maybe you don't really understand
the problem but this is also what your
customer, what your neighbor or someone
who is offended wants the most --
they want an apology. So here are a few
common ways that native speakers
apologize when something's wrong: "I'm
really sorry this happened to you." "I'm
terribly sorry.
We're going to fix this right away." "I
understand why you're so frustrated and
I'm really sorry." "I know this is a huge
inconvenience and I'm really sorry about
that." And now that you've apologized it's
time to take action. So depending on your
specific situation this might be
providing a refund to a client or fixing
something that's broken. Maybe you need
to resolve a conflict and to take action
you can do two things: one you can say
exactly what you're going to do
for example, "I understand why you're
frustrated. I'm sorry you're not happy.
We'll give you a refund right away." And
there is the action -- we will give you a
refund right away. Or we're going to
schedule someone to come fix the problem
today. We're going to schedule someone to
come tomorrow to resolve the issue. Or
you can simply say something like, "I'm
going to fix the problem right away." "I'll
get that fixed right away." Now the second
option is to ask a question if you're
not sure what the other person wants and
this is more common when it's a personal
relationship. Again imagine that you've
broken a fence that your neighbor built
or something negative happened and you
don't know what they really want, you can
just ask. For example you could say, "What
can we do to fix this?" Or "What would you
like me to do to fix this?" And finally,
after you have listened, apologized, and
taken action, you want to follow up. After
you fixed the problem, resolved the
conflict, replaced a product, or gave a
refund, you want to make sure that your
customer, your friend, your neighbor is
happy, that everything is ok. And to do
that you can simply send an email, make a
phone call, go talk to your neighbor and
ask them something like: "Did everything
work out okay for you?" Did everything
work out okay for you? Are you happy with
the solution? Is the new product working
okay for you? Are you satisfied with how
we fixed this? Are you satisfied with how
we fixed the problem?
And almost always when you ask those
simple follow-up questions your customer
or your next-door neighbor feels so
happy because you care. You cared enough
to ask if everything is okay. And with
that you have four simple steps plus all
the language that you need to respond to
complaints the right way in English. Now
as always I do have more expressions
that you can use in the online lesson, so
review those expressions, add those to
your active vocabulary and I have a
challenge question for you at the end.
Thank you so much for joining me, I love
having you here every Wednesday and I'll
see you next week for your Confident
English lesson.