Disputes occur for many reasons. In business, it is when someone has not fulfiled their part or does not want to fulfil their part despite the consequences it holds for the other party. Disputes primarily manifest in three forms -a misunderstanding by one of the parties, a misunderstanding by both parties involved, and refusal to fulfil or yield to agreed terms. The point is most times a dispute is nothing more than a simple misunderstanding.
Every day one or all of these forms of disputes occur in business, and if you do not learn the art of resolving and making them go away quickly, you will have your hands full of them. Too full of them to do anything else. Another thing is its negative contribution to the overall customer experience. When disputes are left unresolved for a long time, it forces customers to move on from your brand no matter how great your products and the rest of your services are. Thankfully dispute resolution is not so complicated. Here are three helpful tips to employ.
Listen: the first thing you need to do is listen and understand the problem or what the customer claims the problem is. Actually, the point is to understand what is wrong or what the customer claims is not right. Be open-minded and engage through whichever feedback channel the customers employ.
Define: go over the definition of roles and expectations with the customer. If the dispute is simply a misunderstanding, this will help clear it up. If it is not, then it will guide you to the next step to take.
Act: if it is the result of a shortcoming on your part, then you should immediately swing into action and fulfil your obligation to your customers. Contact the concerned department or partners and ask for rectification. This should be followed by an apology to the affected party. Also, put measures in place to prevent a reoccurrence. If it is the customer who is missing out on their role, explain what they are to do and encourage them to take the right steps. Don’t threaten them, and don’t insult them for making a fuss. Also, you should explain what they can do if the situation comes up again in the future.
Every dispute resolved is a lesson learnt. Either it is your fault, the fault of the other party or just a simple misunderstanding. Let the lessons guide you to make your services better. Remember that while disputes cannot be eliminated in business, they can be minimised. The good part is that customers understand this too.
However, continue to do what you can to reduce the disputes you get every day. This could mean restructuring departments, working with new partners and of course developing your products. It is also helpful to educate your staff on handling disputes and getting the best outcome.