Wednesday, 18 October 2017

How To Effectively Handle Customer Complaints

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“...God created the world in six days. On the seventh day, he rested. On the eighth day, he started getting complaints. And it hasn't stopped since” – James Scott Bell

Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary defines complaint as “a reason for not being satisfied; a statement that somebody makes saying that they are not satisfied.”  One of the traits common to humankind is the proclivity to complain. Citizens complain about the economy or governmental policies. Government officials complain about the apathy of citizens. A spouse complains to his partner about one thing or the other. Some customers and clients complain about poor quality of products or services, prices of goods and the like. Handling customer complaints effectively is essential for keeping them happy and loyal to your brand or company.

Now, how do you handle complaints as a marketing professional or a customer service representative, especially where the complainant is fuming with anger? How do you handle the complaints of a disgruntled client without making matters worse than they already are? Well, I will attempt to walk you through the route to effectively handle customer complaints.

Don’t be sentimental
As much as practicable, do not allow your emotions get in the way. Understand that you are not the problem as it were; don`t take customer complaints personal. That way, you will not find yourself involved in heated verbal exchanges with disgruntled clients. Stay cool, calm and collected, and remain conscious of the fact that you are literally representing your company. You obviously do not want to soil the hard earned reputation of the company you represent. Simply hear the client out.

Don`t be defensive
The natural response to an outburst from a client as a result of dissatisfaction with a product or service offered is to sound defensive. You would want to prove the client wrong and you right as it were; you really would want to put the client in his or her place but this wouldn`t help matters with most clients. You only end up making the situation murky.

Thank Your Client
You well know that grapevine is considered to be one of the most viable means of landing new clients. What your clients say to persons they interact with about your company; its products or services will either draw potential clients to you or literally pull them away from you. It clearly isn`t in the best interest of your company to have dissatisfied client move out of you company`s premises only to speak ill of the company. You should therefore be grateful that a client approached you with a complaint since it affords you the opportunity to address their concerns.

A customer`s complaint also provides you with the much needed client-feedback to perhaps address certain organizational challenges that might have escaped your attention. My point is this: You have every reason to thank your client, so do so. This helps break the ice; diffusing tensions and calming nerves.

Acknowledge & offer support
It is prudent to listen to what your disgruntled client has to say and to express gratitude for sharing their concerns with you. However, it will better serve your cause if you go further to acknowledge what they say and offer support. Their complaints can range from the conduct of a staff to a defect with a product or service. Whatever their rants may be about, do acknowledge it, and where possible arrange to have concerns remedied within the shortest possible time; in the case of a defective product or wrong product purchased, you can arrange for a suitable replacement, if it is within your means to do so.

Don`t be rigid
Where no remedy is available to meet the displeased client`s expectations, then give some thought to how else you can help them; explore viable alternatives. I have witnessed a situation where a telecommunication company in Ghana decided to give free airtime to their customers as a way of assuaging their rage for an apparent disruption in their service over a prolonged period. It was their way of making it up to their disgruntled clients. Nichole Leinbach-Reyhle, founder of Retail Minded & the Independent Retailer Conference suggests that it should be possible to make it a company policy to have $10 gift cards to a local coffee shop on hand to give to upset customers (or even customers who may be having a bad day). This calls for creativity, ingenuity and flexibility.

Apologize and express gratitude
When a complaint comes to your desk, your aim should go beyond proffering a viable solution (which obviously is very crucial) to concluding your conversation with the client on a note of genuine apology and sincere appreciation; apologize for the inconvenience (s) caused and say thank you. For many clients, such a move goes a long way and even for clients who may still be dissatisfied, it still leaves an impression on them.

Follow up on clients
After offering an unqualified apology, showing sincere appreciation and giving displeased clients the support they were hopefully looking for, consider other alternatives of offering support to clients who complain. Nichole Leinbach-Reyhle suggests that one viable way to do this is to have upper management follow up with these customers 24 to 48 hours after they have expressed their complaint. This gives clients the impression that you are genuinely concerned about their complaints and you are perhaps taking steps to address such concerns.

Move on
Once the complaint has been heard and duly addressed, put it behind you and focus on the work at hand. Of cause, other customer complaints will come up over time; indeed, hardly any business is run without one customer or the other feeling dissatisfied. However, if you will commit to following through with these suggestions as and when complaints come up and adjust them to your peculiar work contexts, you will be contributing significantly to building a strong customer care culture in your organization, with its rippling effect of enhancing customer loyalty and business profitability. 

 Written by Daniel Dela Dunoo
(Writer/Blogger/Professional Marketer)

Monday, 2 October 2017

In Defense of the Historicity of Jesus Christ

Quite recently, MzBel, a Ghanaian music artiste was heard on live television and on a couple of radio talk shows state emphatically that Jesus Christ is a fictional character and not a historical figure as taught by the Church (and as contained in the New Testament of the Bible). Such a view is also held and expounded by a group in Ghana that calls itself Common Sense Family (a group the singer belongs to).  They insist that the stories surrounding Jesus Christ as contained in the Bible were made up and claim they arrived at such conclusions through research. Their assertions have been given much publicity in the Ghanaian news media (the electronic media in particular).
Admittedly MzBel and members of the Common Sense Family are not alone in their beliefs. They enjoy the company of several thousands across the globe and are obviously entitled to their views. However, such views do not necessarily represent the facts.

The similarities logic
Mzbel pointed to the stories surrounding some supposedly Greek mythological figure who apparently predated the birth of Christ and yet whose life is said to have significant similarities with that of Jesus of the New Testament. What was her conclusion? The Jesus of the New Testament was made up from the stories that prevailed about some mythical figure that predated the Christ. Put quite bluntly, Jesus is a hoax.

Without delving into the historicity or otherwise of the figures they allude to, I wish to state that to arrive at a definitive conclusion on such a premise is hollow and untenable. Why so? This classical illustration comes handy: Whoever is privy to the historical events surrounding Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, both assassinated during their terms in office as presidents of the United States of America will see obvious similarities. Those similarities are well documented. Do the marked similarities between the events surrounding the life of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy suggest that they were fictional characters? To answer in the affirmative is to do gross injustice to documented historical facts. My point is this: several documented historical evidence exist about Jesus in non-Biblical and non-Christian sources.

The historical facts
F. F. Bruce, Ryland professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the University of Manchester, once stated, “Some writers may toy with a ‘Christ-myth’, but they do not do so on the ground of historical evidence. The historicity of Christ is as axiomatic for an unbiased historian as the history of Julius Ceasar. It is not historians who propagate the ‘Christ myth’ theories.” Otto Betz also states, “No serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non-historicity of Jesus.”  These are striking and instructive comments from these notable scholars.

It is important to note that persons who claim Christ is a mythical figure, also posit that the Bible (the New Testament in particular) is a book of fiction. In view of this, I would not attempt to use the Biblical text in providing a defense. Assuming the Bible is a book of fiction and thus not trustworthy, how else can a defense be provided. It is worth-noting at this point that the historicity of Jesus is not only a Biblical fact but finds some expression in a massive body of non-biblical sources.
Cornelius Tacitus (born A.D. 52-54), a Roman historian in A. D. 112, Governor of Asia in his writings alluded to the death of Jesus Christ (Annals XV.44). Lucian of Samosta, a satirist of the second century, spoke scornfully of Christ, making reference to his crucifixion, death, teachings and his followers (The Passing Peregrinus). Flavius Josephus (born A. D. 37) a Jewish historian (Antiquities. xiii.33.), Suetonius (A. D. 120) a Roman historian (Life of Claudius 25.4; Life of Caesars, 26.2), Plinus Secundus, governor of Bythynia in Asia Minor (A. D. 112) (Epistles X.96) and many other pagan writers of the first and second centuries make mention of Jesus, his crucifixion and a few other aspects of his life.
Indeed one will note that none of these historians and writers were Christians. Some were actually antagonistic towards Christianity and so no conspiracy can be logically alluded to. Also worth-noting is the Jewish Talmud which obviously was not written by Christians. The Jewish Talmuds (Babylonian Talmud; Babylonian Sanhedrin 43a) makes mention of Christ and his death. The Quran also makes mention of Jesus Christ on numerous occasions, including his virgin birth and some of the miracles he performed (Sura 19:16-34; Sura 21:91; Sura al-Nisa 4:171; Sura Al Imran 45; Sura al-Ma’ida 5:110).
Concerning the testimony of many independent secular and religious accounts of Jesus of Nazareth, Encyclopaedia Britannica records: “These independent accounts prove that in ancient times even the opponents of Christianity never doubted the historicity of Jesus, which was disputed the first time and on inadequate grounds by several authors at the end of the 18th, during the 19th, and at the beginning of the 20th centuries.” This observation is quite conclusion.
The Challenge
Salmon P. Chase, a renowned lawyer and judge once opined: “There came a time in my life when I doubted the divinity of the Scriptures and I resolved as a lawyer and judge I would try the book as I would try anything in the courtroom, taking evidence for and against. It was a long, serious and profound study and using the same principles of evidence in this religious matter as I always do in secular matters I have come to the decision that the Bible is a supernatural book, that it has come from God, and that the only safety for the human race is to follow its teachings.” Will you dare do same? 

For lovers of truth, I throw you a challenge, that is, if you doubt the historicity of Christ. I encourage you to conduct an independent and unbiased research on the subject. Read wide on opposing views and draw your conclusions thereafter. For some who embarked on this voyage with a sense of objectivity, some spending years in painstaking research, several have converted to Christianity, notable amongst them being Professor C. S. Lewis, Josh McDowell, Dr. Nabeel Qureshi and the award winning legal journalist Lee Strobell among others.
Afterthought: In the original article featured at the "Opinion Column" of the 2nd October, 2017 issue of the Daily Graphic (arguably the most authoritative and most widely read newspaper publication in Ghana), i mentioned two Ghanaian music artistes, namely MzBel and Blakk Rasta as having publicly denied the historicity of Christ. That remains true. However, the latter`s name (Blakk Rasta) has been omitted in this post because it has come to my notice that the said musician (i personally heard him on radio a few days ago) now claims he is a Christian and believe in Jesus Christ (in stark contrast to his earlier stands that were widely publicized).
P/S: Check out these enlightening links/vidoes (featuring a Bible scholar, a former atheist, a former Muslim etc.), below to further deepen your understanding of the historicity of Jesus Christ and much more:
 Dr. John Warwick Montgomery`s defense of the historicity of Jesus Christ
A Case for Christ - Lee Strobell (former atheist turned Christian Apologist)) 
Defending the Bible, Part 1- Former Muslim turned Bible Scholar 
 Extra-Biblical Evidence for the Historicity of Christ 

 Written By Daniel Dela Dunoo
(Writer/Blogger/ Theologian)