Problems are inevitable in the convenience store business. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to avoid many common customer complaints. For example, when you’re on top of staffing requirements, you can prevent problems related to being short-staffed. When you follow proper guidelines for ordering and receiving, you avoid problems with items being out of stock. When you properly train your staff, you can exceed customer expectations with great service. In this business, though, even the best managers will have to deal with customer complaints. And when this happens, preparation is key.
Follow LEAST to Solve Customer Complaints
The acronym L-E-A-S-T can help you and your staff help customers who have complaints. These are the steps:
- Listen: When a customer has a problem, the very first thing you need to do is listen to the concern. Sometimes, customers just want to be heard.
- Empathize: Show genuine concern while putting yourself in the customer’s shoes.
- Apologize: A sincere “I’m sorry” goes a long way toward solving any customer complaint.
- Solve: This step is the most critical: find a solution that addresses the customer’s concern.
- Thank: Always thank the customer for both bringing the issue to your attention and for choosing your store in the first place.
Empower Employees to Handle Customer Complaints
Train your employees on the LEAST problem-solving method and make sure they know your c-store’s policies regarding specific issues. Then, empower them to handle problems themselves when appropriate. Support the decisions they make on their own, even when those decisions don’t exactly match how you would have handled things.