To sustain through the cut-throat competition, every business tends to become customer-centric. Eventually investing in ‘support and service’ helps businesses understand customer complaints.
However, there is always a silver lining when it comes to customer complaints. When seen through multiple lenses, it is actually a healthy contribution to your niche. It shows that people are actively participating and that your work is being noticed.
Agreed that complaints are totally inevitable, nonetheless, you should consider it as a golden business opportunity. A report from Newvoicemedia, suggests that as much as a whopping $62 billion is lost by the US businesses each year due to bad customer experiences.
Your customers are the lifeline of your business.
Now that with the advent of IoT and the social presence, customers are turning more vocal about their experience – be it good, bad, or ugly. Excellent customer service should always be a priority, but in the unfortunate event that you receive a customer complaint, here are the top ten tips on how to handle it the right way.
- Active Listening Empathize and Connect
- Sorry and Thanks
- Calm and Composure
- Render Feedback
- Understand Better
- Portray Interest and Ask
- Ace Customer Support
- Follow up
- Healthy Conversations
Before that, let’s brush up the basics. What are customer complaints?
It can be defined as the gaps that the business profiles promise with the real service or products received by the customers. Basically, it is a mismatch of unmet expectations from a customer’s perspective.
As mentioned earlier, customer grievances are earthed by a silver lining. Responding to customer complaints tells you how to resolve issues – if you hear them out.
1. Active Listening
It’s a given that a customer wants to be heard. Even if the complaint seems trivial to you, it clearly has some significance to them because they are taking their time to reach out to you. Sometimes people indeed complain just because they are having a bad day.
But keep in mind that we all have bad days and want someone to hear us out. That is where the technique of active listening comes into play. Pay close attention to their needs and desire. Allowing your client to talk gives them room to calm down.
2. Empathize and Connect
Empathy takes a relation a long way. Begin with telling your customer that you appreciate them reaching out to you and venting out the issue. Assure them that you are ready to hear and you will come up with a solution.
A sentence like this from the get-go lets the customer know that you care and want to connect. This way, you are half-way through finding a reasonable resolution to the complaint.
3. Sorry and Thanks
It could be difficult at first, but swallowing your pride and apologizing for the inconvenience caused to your customer puts you ahead in the race. However, note that sorry doesn’t mean you are agreeing, neither you are accepting the blame too.
Further, it could seem counterintuitive, but saying a thank you to your customer for reaching out shows them that you understand. And that you are on the edge of your seat to resolve the issue for them.
4. Calm and Composure
Not every day could be pink and pretty. It is possible that your day could kick-start with a really angry customer yelling at the top of his voice. Or a customer who isn’t ready to step down due to some monetary confusion.
Though it is extremely difficult to keep your cool, you will have to learn the subtle art of staying under the weather. In such cases, do not take these issues personally. This is your profession you have chosen to render. You are more likely to satisfy your customer’s needs if you approach the problem with a calm state of mind.
5. Render Feedback
A recent study by Harvard Business Review states that the act of just asking for customer feedback is enough to keep customers from churning and coming back for more.
Acquiring first-hand customer feedback opens growth opportunities for businesses. Encouraging customers to complain and share their opinions is an easy way to share their genuine feedback.
6. Understand Better
The focal point of every successful business is understanding your customer’s needs. Handling customer grievances is easier when you know more about the client. This can then be used to persuade loyal customers that your brand is best for their interests.
Responding to these issues shows that you are trying to match the wavelength of the customers with your brand.
7. Portray Interest and Ask
After you’ve listened to your customer’s complaint and the individual has had a chance to calm down, it’s your turn to take the initiative and get all the facts. Now is the time that you can calmly start asking questions for clarification.
Start a genuine rapport with your customer. Between being kind, listening, acknowledging, and apologizing, you will have started gaining your customer’s trust.
8. Ace Customer Support
There are several ways you can ace your customer support. First, deploy live chat options. It is not a good idea to keep your customer waiting on your website.
Additionally, you can also add chatbots. They can be engaged to your customers 24×7. Dealing with customer complaints instantly delivers a stellar experience.
9. Follow up
Do regular follow up with some of your recent clients. See whether the solution you provided has worked out in their favor or not. This would be like a cherry on top of a cake.
At this point, if the customer is happy, there’s a really good chance that they will be returning to you for your services, converting to customer advocates.
10. Healthy Conversations
McKinsey’s report says 70% of the customer’s journey is dictated by how the customer feels they are being treated. Generally, customers move to other brands because they are put off by an untrained or rude support team. Effective communication plays a vital role in resolving customer complaints.
That’s a Wrap
Not all complaints are bad. It is time to accept it and see the real value that comes along. This is a healthy strategy that helps to revamp your brand face on the go. The adage, ‘customer is always right’ does not hold true in all circumstances.28
Goes without saying, hearing a yelling client on the other side of the phone could be a daunting task. But when reciprocated in a warm, and professional manner, you could save a customer from churning away. Follow these 10 tips religiously and see how you will end up with a life-long, loyal customer.
Simran hails from the content marketing backdrop with extensive knowledge in blogs, articles, and technical whitepapers in the non-fictional domain. She uses her ‘gift of the gab’ to explore new possibilities on her way and to make an exquisite impact on her readers. In her spare time, she likes to read journals on artificial intelligence or play with her cute kittens.
Published September 22, 2020, Updated June 30, 2022