How to Respond to Customer Complaints?

How to Respond to Customer Complaints?

Responding to customer complaints can be overwhelming but you can’t ignore them as addressing customers' complaints is part of your job.

Not reaching out to customers and addressing their complaints can cost your business 1000s of dollars. It’s said that around 56% of individuals around the world stop doing business with a company due to bad customer service experiences.

If you won’t respond to their complaints and won’t try to resolve the issues, it will lead to a bad customer service experience and ultimately will end up with no business with them.

To save your dollars, we’re here to tell you ways to respond to customer complaints so that your customers don’t have to face bad experiences. Let’s get started.

Common Customer Complaints Examples

We’ll begin this post with a few common customer complaint examples that your company can expect to encounter.

Long hold time

Customers don’t like to spend hours complaining about a product or service. They love it when the company answers their call fast and doesn't put them on hold for a long time as they don’t like to wait.

According to stats, most callers hang up the call after around 1 minute 55 seconds of hold time and around 34% of them don’t call again. If you are that company, you will lose a customer for life. To solve this issue, one thing you can do is to hire more customer reps or improve automation so that hold time can be reduced.

Favorite product getting Out of Stock

Having a product out of stock indicates that your product is in demand but keeping it out of stock for a long time can result in customers being impatient. This can raise customer queries and complaints. So, you need to fill the stock so that such customer complaints can be avoided.

Repeat the problem multiple times

While reporting a complaint, customers are already frustrated, and if they have to repeat the problem many times to the service reps the situation may even get worse. Customers really hate it. It might happen in case of transferring calls to new reps or while dealing with inattentive reps.

Avoid transferring calls to avoid such inconveniences. Even if you need to do so, reach out to agents internally, explain the matter to them, and seek advice. Try to meet the customer's immediate needs by helping him on the spot most of the time.

Also, you can set up help desk software so that customers get connected to the most suitable rep.

Feel unsatisfied with the Product or Service

If your product or service doesn’t meet customers’ expectations, they will feel unsatisfied which means you have unhappy customers. This unhappy customer will complain about your product or service.

At times customers don’t realize their needs and buy the wrong product. Even though it's their mistake, they will blame your company. Whatever the reason is, your goal should be to understand them and solve the issue.

If the problem is with your product or service, make replacements or improve it. If the problem is at the customer’s end, gently bring it to their notice.

Feel ignored due to a lack of Follow Up

Sometimes, companies don’t update customers about the actions taken on their complaints. This lack of follow-up messages or notifications may make them feel ignored.

This may reflect that your company is irresponsible and careless which will create a poor brand image among customers. I’m sure you don’t want that to happen. So what you can do is update your customers about the actions you are taking or are planning to take. Even if the action may take time, inform customers.

General Ways to Respond to Customer Complaints

While making complaints customers may be at different frustration levels and require different solutions for their issues. But having a general framework, to begin with, is essential which you can customize based on your customers’ needs.

Here are the general ways to respond to customers that will answer your basic question “How to Respond to Customer Complaints”.

Be a good listener and understand the issue

Whenever a customer reports a complaint, your first responsibility is to listen to them carefully and understand the core issue. Customers give you real-time feedback on the market. If a customer is facing it, there might be others as well who haven’t complained about it. You have to attentively listen to all the customer complaints and try to solve the issues.

Take the criticism positively and focus on solving the issue

Out of frustration, customers sometimes give hard feedback that is difficult to digest. Before trying to solve the issue, first, digest the criticism and take it positively. You should not take the criticism personally and think about it from a customer’s perspective.

Let’s suppose, you have spent a few bucks on some product but now are unable to enjoy its benefits properly and feel like your money got wasted. You’ll surely feel disheartened.

So consider it the same way and focus on solving the issue instead of taking it personally.

Decide the plan of action

Once you have heard the issue, it’s time to decide the plan of action that you’ll take to address their problem. Sometimes, the problem is common and you know the solution immediately. In odd cases when you don’t know how exactly you’re going to resolve this particular complaint, ask your customers for some time to decide the plan of action. Asking out clearly will maintain transparency.

Be thankful to your customers for their feedback

Customers are not obliged to give you feedback or complain about your product or service. They can easily switch to your competitors. By complaining to you, they are giving you a chance to prove yourself.

So, be thankful to your customers for their feedback. Thanking customers will lower their frustration and will make the scope for conversation.

Apologize and convey your understanding of the issue

After thanking the customer, you should apologize and empathize with the customer by conveying your understanding of the issue.

For example, let's suppose, one of your customers has made a payment but the amount got deducted twice from their account, and that customer has asked for a refund. The response in this situation should be like this:

Hi [Customer Name],
Thanks for bringing this to our notice. We’re sorry for the inconvenience you have faced. I’ve raised the ticket in your name and I’ll inform the accounts team about the payment that needs to be refunded. I know doing this cannot bring back the time that you have wasted due to this double payment but you’ll surely get the refund within the next 3 business days. We request you to have patience.

You can see all the elements in this response. This response thanks to the customer, apologizes for the issue and reflects that the team understands the issue and the problem the customer is facing. The customer will feel confident about getting the issue resolved after seeing this response.

Inform your customers about the solution plan

The response framed above may be a good fit for the less complicated issues. But the proper response to complaints includes the solution. The customer complaint response is incomplete without including the solution plan.

Nowadays, it’s better to go beyond just solving the issue. This solution response should include the improvement in the service and compensation for the loss that the customer has faced. After receiving this response, the customer knows more about the action that is being taken to resolve the issue.

Thank the customer after addressing the issue

At this point, the issue must have been resolved completely. After this, you just thank the customer once again for reporting the complaint and allowing you to serve them. Also, give them the follow-up information so that they can reach out to you in case they have some issues in the future.

Follow up further to see if the customer is satisfied

After some time of resolving the issue, it’s your responsibility to see if the customers are satisfied with the action you took to resolve the issue. So, decide the time for each issue and follow up with the customer. If possible, ask for feedback. This will show them that you are considerate of your customers and want them to be truly satisfied and happy.

Tips to Respond to Customer Complaints

In the end, it’s time to reveal some of the basic tips to keep in mind while responding to customer complaints.

Whether the problem is you or not, stay calm and humble

Not every time it's a company's mistake. Even customers mess things up at times. It might be frustrating to digest the negative feedback or complaints when there is no fault of the company. Still, you have no option but to handle it with care.

Never lose your temper. Always stay calm and humble. If it’s your mistake, try to solve it as soon as possible. If the customer is doing things wrong, keep patience and explain to the customer where the fault is.

Don’t play the blame game

In case a member of your team has made a blunder, don’t let customers know about it. Customers don’t bother about who made the mistake, they only want a solution.

Blaming the team members in front of the customers will give them one more reason to not trust you. So, just try to focus on the solution instead of blaming the other person for the cause.

Think of the issue from the customer’s perspective

Empathizing with customers can make a huge difference in resolving customer complaints. Apart from being a company rep, you are also a customer. Whenever you come across any complaint, think about how you will react in a similar situation. Think of your expectations from the company if you were in the place of that customer. Once you have imagined this, try to provide a constructive experience to your customer by truly resolving their issue.

Responding to customer complaints humbly and truly resolving issues is the essence of business growth and brand image. Don’t mess with it.
About the author
Arnob Mukherjee

Arnob Mukherjee

Building Olvy

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