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How To Deal With Customer Complaints and Resolve Them
How To Deal With Customer Complaints and Resolve Them
How To Deal With Customer Complaints and Resolve Them

How To Deal With Customer Complaints and Resolve Them


Published on September 23, 2023

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Customers form the foundation of your business, and their satisfaction is paramount to its growth. That's why exceptional customer service holds immense importance.

In today's digital age, with the prevalence of the internet and social media, individuals are increasingly vocal about their interactions with businesses, both positive and negative.

For businesses centered around customer satisfaction, it's essential to recognize that, regardless of how well you serve your customers and operate your business efficiently, customer complaint management is inevitable.

Interestingly, only about 5% of dissatisfied customers voice their complaints directly to the company. However, unhappy customers tend to share their negative experiences with approximately 15 others, potentially resulting in lost business, often unbeknownst to you.

Customer feedback management may be difficult, but these situations can provide an opportunity for you and your business to excel. It's a chance to turn a dissatisfied customer into a delighted and loyal one.

While providing excellent customer service should always be a priority, in the unfortunate event of receiving a customer complaint, here are 13 valuable tips on how to do customer complaint management. 

What is exactly customer complaints 

Customer complaints are often a sign that there's a disconnect between what customers expected and what you delivered. Sometimes that disconnect is caused by a customer's unreasonable expectations or incorrect assumptions. Other times, it's caused by something your company is doing wrong.

A customer complaint might be the result of your marketing copy leading them to believe something incorrect about your product/service — or of your user experience setting customers up for failure. Or it could reflect a problem that's happening outside of your direct control like shipping problems.

The only way to find out is to give credence to customer complaints management to determine if they contain genuinely useful feedback.

13 tips on customer complaints management 

  1. Ask the right questions by digging deeper

Customer complaints, even when voiced in frustration, can hold valuable insights. It's your responsibility to identify the core issue, and employing Socratic questioning can be a powerful tool in this endeavor.

When engaging with your customer, consider asking questions like:

  • "What do you mean by...?"

  • "Could you provide an example?"

  • "Could you expand on that point further?"

Simultaneously, self-reflection is crucial. Pose questions to yourself such as:

  • "What additional information do I require?"

  • "What assumptions am I making?"

  • "Why does this complaint matter?"

Customer Complaints management often highlights problems in need of solutions. By asking the right questions, you can unearth the root cause of the complaint, explore potential resolutions, and discern if it contains genuinely constructive feedback.

In cases where you realize that you may not be the right person to address the customer's concerns and need to transfer them to a specialist, always ensure clear communication. Explain the transfer by stating, "I'll connect you with our specialist, who will promptly address your issue."

  1. Avoid disputes with your customer 

It's a common and, frankly, instinctive reaction to want to assert that a customer is mistaken in their claims. However, this approach can be counterproductive in calming a customer down when they're expressing dissatisfaction. Rather than challenging their complaint, it's more effective to actively listen to their concerns. And, believe it or not, consider expressing gratitude. “Allow me to explain”

Learn more: When to ask customers for reviews

  1. Understanding customer personas in finding the right customer

A study by the University of Florida highlights the diversity of customer types encountered when addressing complaints. These customers are driven by distinct beliefs, attitudes, and needs, necessitating varying response strategies:

Expressively upset customers: They openly convey their dissatisfaction. Respond with firm politeness rather than mirroring confrontational behavior.

Premium support demanding customers: They pay well and expect top-tier assistance. Offer solutions without excuses and consider streamlining support for this group.

Frequent contact customers: They reach out regularly. Maintain patience and avoid showing frustration, as their satisfaction can lead to loyalty and advocacy.

Silent exit customers: They quietly exit without complaining. Proactively engage with them to uncover and resolve potential issues, as they may never voice their feedback.

While these descriptions simplify customer behavior, real customers often exhibit a blend of motivations. Awareness of these personas can guide your response to better serve each individual's unique needs.

  1. Be kind to your customers

In many cases, diffusing anger and frustration is achievable through kindness and empathy. From the outset, express your appreciation for the customer's decision to communicate their concerns and express your genuine interest in understanding their feelings. By demonstrating care and attentiveness, you set the stage for a constructive dialogue and a potential resolution to the customer's complaint.

  1. Give your customers timely responses

Addressing dissatisfied customers, the speed of your response shifts from a mere convenience to an absolute necessity. Complaints are most effectively resolved when addressed promptly.

While a customer leaving a feature request may not mind a day's wait, those facing urgent issues require immediate attention. Consider implementing AI-powered chatbots to provide swift responses and resolutions for urgent matters.

Additionally, you can establish a dedicated folder separate from the main support queue to filter messages from customers in pressing situations. This allows your team to quickly identify and assist customers with reviews and those who require immediate resolution, with the support of AI chatbots to expedite the process.

Learn more: how to ask for reviews

  1. Extend a sincere apology and express gratitude

It might not be easy, but embracing humility and offering a heartfelt apology for your customer's less-than-ideal experience can set a positive tone. Importantly, apologizing doesn't equate to an agreement or taking the blame.

In a counterintuitive move, expressing gratitude to your customer for sharing their concern showcases your commitment to continuous improvement. It signals your empathy and readiness to address the issue effectively.

  1. Ensure effective communication

Once you've proposed a resolution or clarified what actions can or cannot be taken in response to the customer's complaint, respectfully confirm their understanding. Simply ask if they've grasped how you can assist them or what limitations exist.

  1. Embrace flexibility

In situations where no immediate resolution can satisfy the customer, consider alternative ways to assist them. For instance, having $12 gift cards for a local coffee shop on hand can be a thoughtful gesture to appease upset customers or even those who have had a challenging day. 

An extra tip: Seek arrangements with the coffee shop for complimentary or discounted cards, fostering mutually beneficial relationships in local business communities. Being creative and adaptable can make a difference.

  1. Track and Analyze Complaints for Trends

Don't overlook the power of tracking reviews to identify patterns and recurring issues. If a single customer has raised a specific concern in the past decade, it might not warrant immediate attention. However, when multiple customers voice the same complaint, it becomes a significant trend.

  1. Ask Clarifying Questions

After listening to the customer's complaint and allowing them to express their concerns, take the initiative to gather essential facts. Engage in a genuine conversation with the customer while maintaining a courteous and understanding tone. Avoid asking redundant questions that the customer has already answered, as this may undermine their trust and imply inattentiveness.

  1.  Prompt Resolution

Efficiency is crucial in resolving complaints. The faster you find a satisfactory solution, the more contented the customer will be. Flexibility is essential here, balancing adherence to company protocols with the ability to go the extra mile for customers. Ensure that any proposed solutions can be promptly executed. Options like offering a small gift card, a discount on future purchases, product replacement, or upgrades can effectively address customer concerns.

Empower your employees to make independent judgment calls when seeking solutions, minimizing the need to escalate complaints up the chain of command, which can exacerbate the situation.

  1. Document Customer Responses

Customer complaints often contain valuable insights for improving products or services. Documenting these complaints can help identify flaws, issues, and trends. Whether it's a technical glitch or a marketing-specific concern, record all customer complaints for future reference.

By maintaining a record of complaints, you can address them during regular meetings, seeking input on how best to tackle the issues and drive improvements.

  1. Follow up to show you care

After extending your apologies and support to address the customer's concerns, consider additional ways to demonstrate your commitment to their satisfaction. One effective approach is to have upper management reach out to these customers within 24 to 48 hours of their complaint. This follow-up reaffirms your care and indicates that their concerns remain a top priority. You can choose to send a handwritten note to their home address, if available, or personally call them. Ensure that your protocol includes requesting contact details for such follow-ups.

Collect all your customer's multi-channel feedback in one place 

Efficiently addressing customer complaints necessitates a comprehensive system with multichannel capabilities. Customer feedback management software, such as Cloodot aggregates all your customers' feedback from various channels and consolidates them into a single interface. This streamlined approach empowers agents to respond to all complaints seamlessly.

Establish assignment rules to ensure each ticket finds the most suitable team member without conflicts.

Streamline your customer service efforts by implementing service levels and contracts, guaranteeing the timely fulfillment of all commitments.

Effectively manage multiple departments, including analysis reports, multi-channel chat reviews, and marketing campaigns, all from a unified account.

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© Copyright 2023, All Rights Reserved by Cloodot

An all-in-one reputation marketing software to automatically generate, monitor and market reviews for your businesses.

© Copyright 2023, All Rights Reserved by Cloodot

An all-in-one reputation marketing software to automatically generate, monitor and market reviews for your businesses.

© Copyright 2023, All Rights Reserved by Cloodot