Think Like Your Clients, Firms Advised
Decorative plumbing/hardware showroom personnel and other retail
firms connected with the kitchen and bath industry need to “think
like their customers” in order to consistently offer the best
possible service and reduce customer complaints. So says the
Decorative Plumbing & Hardware Association (DPHA), the
year-old, Bethesda, MD-based trade association serving decorative
plumbing and hardware showrooms.
In a recent advisory to its member firms, the DPHA observed that
showrooms serving the kitchen and bath market should never fail to
periodically review existing complaint-and-return policies.
“There’s an old business maxim, ‘If you like our service, tell
others; if you don’t, tell us,’ ” the DPHA said. “That attitude
turns every complaint into a learning experience and empirical case
study that provides business owners with lessons for
The DPHA suggests that an effective customer complaint policy
should have at least the following five components:
1. Always listen regardless of how inane a complaint may
“Most people complain because they believe they have a legitimate
grievance,” the DPHA says.
2. Think like your customer, the DPHA suggests.
“Ask yourself how you would feel if you found yourself in the same
situation as your customer,” the DPHA advises. “Similarly, ask
yourself what would it take, if you were in a similar situation, to
make you happy?”
3. If a visit to your customer’s home by you or a member of your
staff is necessary, make sure you make an appointment and make sure
you’re on time. Never stop by unannounced. That’s a hallmark
of a company that’s unprofessional, and unwelcome.
4. Remember that there are two sides to every story.
“Never admit fault if you don’t have all the facts; and never deny
responsibility until all the facts are in place,” the DPHA advises.
“If your company or people have made a mistake, admit it and move
on. Honesty usually wins out.”
5. If the complaint turns out to be erroneous or inane, never
make the customer look bad. In fact, “capitalize on opportunities
to have the customer save face,” the DPHA suggests.
The association offers the following approach to irate
customers: “Your response is not unusual. That’s why it’s important
for us to research your complaint and get the facts. Thanks for
pointing out this situation so we can avoid it with others in the