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Guests return to your outlet not only for the excellent drinks that you and your team create but also because of the overall experience they had. Customer service is extremely important in a bar, from making your customer feel welcome when they first arrive, to recommending drinks and being attentive. However, as with all professions, when working with the general public, issues can arise. Knowing how to deal with customer complaints can help to defuse tricky situations and rectify problems quickly. The way you deal with a complaint can even make customers more loyal to your outlet if they feel they have been treated well and the issue has been resolved appropriately. So how do you deal with a customer complaint?

Follow these 5 steps:

1) Listen Carefully

Always hear the customer out and don’t get defensive. Often this can be easier said than done, but it is very important that you listen and understand clearly what the customer has said.

2) Ask Questions

Ask the customer questions about the issue in a caring and concerned manner. Try to understand your customer’s need and why they are making a complaint—think about how you can respond to that need. Let them feel like you’re on their side and that you understand the issue and empathize with them.

3) Own the Problem

Apologize without blaming others and assure them that you will personally deal with the issue. If you can’t solve the problem—quickly find someone who can.

4) Don’t Over-Promise

Let your customers know there’s an issue and be sure to give special attention to the customer. Ask the customer what they feel an acceptable solution would be. Never over-promise, but work with them to find an acceptable solution.

5) Learn from It

With the issue resolved, consider how you can learn from it and ensure it doesn’t occur again.

Complaints Online

We all live in a digital world and many complaints don’t always happen face to face. In the world of the internet, anyone can make a complaint online and damage your outlet’s reputation. It is important to respond to all complaints and criticisms and offer a resolution - whether that is on your Facebook page or on a site that reviews different restaurants and bars. A good practice is also to respond to good reviews and comments. Help build those customer relationships and show your appreciation for their positive comments.