For any company, customer complaints are inevitable. However, businesses must deal with these unhappy customers effectively so that they can be delighted with the products and services of that company. But one of the biggest challenges that companies face is handling customer complaints in a way so that the customers feel positive about the brand. Research says that more than 91% of unhappy customers leave the brand without complaining at all. Hence, it is very essential for brands to take the complaints seriously and improve the products and service quality whenever required. Ignoring them not only leads to loss of customers but also reduced sales.
Tips & Best Practices for Handling Customer Complaints
Often a bad experience can be solved, and it can turn into an opportunity if measures are taken timely and properly. Solving customer complaints eventually helps brands in finding the masked opportunities of nurturing customer relations which will lead to the prosper of business. While communicating with unsatisfied customers might not be an easy task to do, implementing the following steps for dealing with customer complaints can be proven to be quite rewarding and helps in building customer loyalty in the future.
1. Listen to Your Customers
Active listening helps in resolving customer queries easily whenever a customer is not happy with the previous solution. Listening to angry customers and their feedback is crucial in making notes and identifying the problematic areas. It will help the customer care agents to connect with the customers and eventually the customer feels good when they listen carefully. Listening to customers will help in providing relevant solutions rather than incompetent solutions that will leave the customers miserable and the problem unsolved.
2. Offer Actionable Solution
Well, offering proper solutions to angry and dissatisfied customers can only happen when the customer service agent listens carefully to the customer complaints. While following the brand guidelines solutions can be offered with generosity and humbly so that the customers are satisfied with the solution. Let the helpless customer know that your brand is willing to take ownership of the problem and you are willing to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. Always remember that the solutions must be realistic and strictly adhere to the company policy and can be fulfilled within the stipulated time.
3. Avoid Challenging Customer’s Complaints
If you are in a state to serve customers in the best possible way, avoiding arguments with the customers along with actively listening to the cause of the problem are the things that the customer service agent must focus on. However, it will not help in your efforts if you challenge whatever the customer is saying. Apologize for the inconvenience caused and try to offer some solutions which may resolve the issue and might cause customer delight.
4. Offer An Apology with Gratitude Attached
It really does not matter at all what is the reason and who caused the problem. A lot of the times customers can go wrong, and many times brands also fail to fulfill what they claim. Offering a sincere apology can be the best solution whenever someone is taking initiative in resolving the issue. A deep apology implies ownership. A sincere apology can eliminate the anger and disgust of the customer to a large extent. It will help the customer in calming down so that they can explain the issues more elaborately.
5. Be Polite While Responding
When a customer reaches a brand with an issue, you should be patient and listen actively to what the customer is trying to say without any interruption. After listening to the problem, politely respond to the customer while trying to build a positive relationship by offering effective and relevant solutions. It is advisable not to use any negative words or argue during the time of conversation. Always make your customers feel that they are getting listened to and the brand empathizes with the situation. Usually, the situation might diffuse when the customer will realize that you are sorry for the situation and try to help as much as possible.
6. Use Right Tools for Managing Complaints
Shifting the traditional methods of problem-solving to digital ways of customer complaint handling is proven to be the most efficient way that companies practice nowadays using proper tools and technologies. Using proper tools will help in timely responding to customers while monitoring them and offering proactive actions. With a well-defined KPI, focusing on customer feedback, a proper ticketing system, and implementing live chat, a brand can successfully resolve all the customer complaints in an effective manner.
After offering an effective solution to the customer, if the customer is happy, then the customer service agent must seek feedback and can pitch about new products and services after the consumer has agreed to listen. Offering a product that can benefit the customer is always considered a good gesture and a cross-sell technique that brands practice for better customer service and improved profitability. Customer care executives must take follow up until the probe by seeking feedback and sharing among the team so that next time onwards the same problem should not happen with any customer.
8. Cover All Communication Channel
Focusing on an omnichannel strategy is an effective way of handling customer complaints effectively because customers sometimes do not reach a brand through the same communication channel. Hence, companies must get the information of a customer from all communication channels that can be possible with the implementation of an omnichannel communication approach where you can integrate all the channels. Thus, you can proactively engage your customers while offering effective solutions thus reducing the number of customer complaints gradually.
Well, to be honest, customer complaints can be a blessing in disguise. The most important benefits of customer complaints are that a brand can get to know the genuine gaps thus improving the products and services in the proper direction. However, the way a brand handles customer complaints is the main point of difference whether the company will gain or lose the customer.
Hence, next time whenever you receive an issue lodged by a customer, listen to the problem, and empathize with them while offering a feasible solution, and lastly follow up with him whether the customer is happy with the way you offered a solution. With this practice, as a brand, you are opening a gateway of increasing customer loyalty, improving your product quality, and offering best-in-class customer service.