Every two weeks, FCNews seeks out flooring retailers across the country to offer their advice on hot topics of the day. This week we asked: How do you handle a disgruntled customer?

Here are their responses:

The most critical component is communication. Most customers realize mistakes happen or that certain conditions transpire during the installation. What they have zero patience for is lack of communication. We require a confirmed response from the customer so we know they are aware of the next steps required to resolve the situation. Once completed, our customer experience specialists have a final confirmation from the customer that all issues have been resolved.

– Kelby Frederick, My Flooring Texas, Houston

Once we investigate the root cause, it usually is much less worse than we feared. However, it can be tricky to balance what is feasible or practical with the customer’s expectations. The real key in diffusing the situation is expediency ad thorough communication.

– John Bretzloff, Barefoot Flooring, Castle Hill,N.C.

I’m a little old school in this area but I usually call the customer and ask for an immediate appointment at her residence to address the issues. I find it defuses the situation quickly and shows we care about her concerns. Before leaving, I try to set up a date and time for our staff to do any touch ups.

– Bill Huss, D&M Interiors, Appleton, Wis.

There is always a mental sliding scale of what you’re willing to do for a customer based on the facts of each issue. We may simply apologize or go as far as offering a discount. The bottom line is we live in a day and age of online reviews—which are utilized by a great percentage of customers—so you want to do as much as sensibly possible to make the customer happy.

– Kevin Rose, Carpetland USA, Rockford, Ill.

Part of the reason we don’t have many disgruntled customers is setting the proper expectations before, during and after the sales, but some things are out of our control. When we do have a customer inquiry, we listen and let the customer talk until they are finished. We do our best to solve the issue. Sometimes it’s an easy fix and in other instances, it’s a challenge. If the customer is reasonable, we are reasonable and fair.

– Kevin Murray, Murray Floor & Window Coverings, Billings, Mont.
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