How to Handle Customer Complaints: 10 Techniques

21 min read
Bitrix24 Team
December 12, 2022
Last updated: January 17, 2024
How to Handle Customer Complaints: 10 Techniques

In the current marketplace, the customer comes first. Matter of fact, one can't expand the firm and generate revenue without people. Additionally, as competition in the industry becomes more intense, businesses are going above and beyond to win over buyers with first-rate customer service. But because individuals are aware of this, customers are speaking up more and more regarding the things they demand from a company as well as the things they prefer and dislike.

The best source of quality assurance is through the consumers. The company cannot expand and prosper sans their enthusiastic support. Therefore, it's crucial to listen to client concerns when they come in considering these are chances to enhance consumer engagement and reduce the likelihood of turnover.

A contented shopper is more inclined to recommend your business to everyone else. The same is true for unhappy customers, who are much more predisposed to complain to acquaintances, coworkers, and industry partners. A flood of adverse widespread outcry may swiftly harm a business's reputation and financial results in today's digital landscape such as social media sites and blogs. That being the case, knowing how to handle customer complaints is a must-have to learn and improve.


10 Solutions for Addressing Customer Complaints

A company's proprietor has a wonderful potential to turn unsatisfied clients into enthusiastic advocates for the brand by handling customer complaints well. Here are some customer-focused techniques on how to handle customer complaints.


1. Permit the client to voice and hear their issues

Do not try to disrupt the consumer once you have asked them to describe the scope of their dispute. Doing so may arouse their outrage even more and cause much further disagreement. To deflate and finally resolve the client's concerns, it is essential to let them completely express their grounds for being dissatisfied.

Managers should not interpret a user's remarks on a personal level, irrespective if they are agitated or shouting. Strive to keep in mind that the consumer is upset with the circumstance, not with you directly, and that your role is to assist in addressing their troubles and solving the dispute.

Send open-ended questioning to elicit additional relevant facts from disgruntled customers if they are not articulating their issues effectively. When the agitated individual realizes that you are genuinely focused on hearing their issue and attempting to come up with a fix, asking clarifying inquiries can help soothe them down.

The aim is to gather additional data to further assist the client in solving the issue, therefore be cautious not to come off as attacking the consumer or contesting the facts they have previously provided. Finally, prior to your attempt to create a resolution, make sure with the buyer that you possess all of the necessary information.

2. Be empathetic with your client

Another strategy on how to handle customer complaints is being empathetic. Acknowledging a client's displeasure and using their vernacular is a terrific method to woo them over. This demonstrates to them your concern for them and your belief in their value to the organization, which is crucial. You have to employ expressions like "I sense you're dissatisfied," "I acknowledge you're displeased," "If I were you," and "I can fully comprehend how this would be extremely upsetting."

Constantly guarantee them an answer or a backup plan. Finally, wrap up by saying stuff along the lines of, "So if I hear you properly (then describe the circumstance). I can imagine how stressful the situation would be." Reiterating the significance of the problem and reflecting on the consumer's complaint forth to them would assist in guaranteeing that everybody is on a similar track so that solutions can start.

Furthermore, using the five elements of empathy in the business sector can aid on how to handle customer complaints. These are:

  1. to be conscious and attentive

  2. to express your comprehension of another person's feelings

  3. to view things from different viewpoints

  4. to continue being impartial

  5. to comprehend another's feelings


3. Offer an apology no matter the situation is

You must assume full accountability for any dissatisfaction your goods or services have caused a consumer to experience. Even though it wasn't your mistake or if they were in error, offer an apology to them. It is a great way to handle customer complaints.

A vast number of studies conducted all over the world concluded that dissatisfied consumers are much more willing to forgive a business if it expresses sincere remorse to them instead of simply rewarding them. By expressing regret to your consumers, you may still give a reason for an issue without creating a flimsy excuse for it.

Giving an explanation allows you to deflect or avoid responsibility for an event that was beyond your grasp. Your reasoning places you on the defensive side of the ball even if it is valid. It may appear that you are attempting to persuade the consumer that their encounter or sentiments are completely baseless because it is an instinctive reaction. That is not the objective. Contrarily, an explanation makes the origin or rationale clear without lessening the effect.


4. Determine the type of customer and react appropriately

Determining the kind of customer you deal with is a smart move on how to handle customer complaints. Because every consumer is unique, your approach to handling their concerns should likewise be unique. Several customers don't think twice about publicly expressing their dissatisfaction. Others are confident enough to entirely leave your company without making any grievances. Some people only approach you when something is beyond their comprehension, while others keep calling you up with minor issues.

These are all just a handful of the different kinds of clients you could encounter. You must comprehend their actions and way of thinking in order to establish the discussion's mood and pace appropriately.

For instance, treating extremely critical consumers with courtesy and empathy always has positive results. You ought to be patient with those who approach you constantly about unimportant matters. Regardless if you need to repeat your answers to the same kind of queries, continue to remain composed. You never really know—they might turn out to be ardent supporters of your company.


5. Train Your Team and make it quickly

Make sure that your customer service team is properly trained to handle complaints. Equip them with the abilities to stay composed, understanding and efficient, in resolving customer problems as this can enhance overall customer experiences. 

Once you have gathered all the information now is your opportunity to discover a solution that satisfies everyone involved your customer. The sooner you find a resolution that everyone can accept the happier your customer will be, allowing you to feel relieved well.

It's crucial to maintain some flexibility in this situation. While its necessary to adhere to your company's protocols and guidelines it's also important to be willing to go the mile for your customers. Avoid offering solutions that you can't follow through on as that will only hinder your progress. Perhaps providing a gift card or a discount on purchases would suffice in alleviating the situation. You could also consider replacing the item free of charge or upgrading their purchase or membership. When attempting to find a resolution, grant your employees autonomy to make judgment calls independently. Escalating a customer, up the chain of command might exacerbate the situation. It's best to avoid it whenever possible.


6. Create a policy for handling customer complaints and offer a solution

A complaints management policy outlines a methodical procedure for addressing and settling consumer grievances for the enterprise and the clients. In the event that a consumer dispute does occur, having your business policy in place will give you the courage to handle it. You can also use the complaints management procedure to explain to the clients:

● Your complaint processing procedure is transparent and timely.

● Your courteous reception of all client feedback

● Your openness to conversation and ongoing development.

Ensure that your complaints management procedure conveys to your clients how much you appreciate their opinions. Additionally, the stance should declare that you are committed to handling complaints in a timely, impartial, effective, and kind manner.

Consequently, ask the consumer what they believe is a suitable remedy to their issue. Give the consumer a fast resolution if their claim is sensible and falls under your purview. Convey your firm's viewpoint and provide another option if the demand is inappropriate. A rebate, reimbursement, or markdown on a future transaction may frequently be sufficient to satisfy the concerns of both sides.

Inform the client of the review procedure and the anticipated turnaround time if the demand is legitimate but outside of your scope of power to grant approval. Ensure that you get the client's contact details and preferable communication channels (phone calls, text messages, social media, or email).



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7. Make continual follow-ups

In the process of managing customer service complaints, follow-up is crucial as it is a must how to handle customer complaints. There are two advantages to scheduling frequent follow-ups. First is that we are well aware of if the remedy you offered is indeed helpful to them. Additionally, it enhances the reputation of your organization. Follow-ups convince them that your primary goal is to address their complaints.

Reaffirm the problem and the workaround when following up with clients to make sure that everybody is on the identical path. Reiterate your apology for the difficulty this has caused the consumer. Additionally, now is an excellent moment to ask them for comments on the assistance services and encourage them that similar problems won't arise again.

Here's something you ought to do if you're contemplating how to handle customer complaints that are brought up repeatedly. Create a record of your customer service responses in your digital knowledge base.

You lessen the likelihood that consumers will call you repetitively with the same issue by writing thorough knowledge base publications on each client concern you encounter regularly. Consumers can access the knowledge base and obtain the answer instantaneously following the moment they have a problem that is comparable to this one.


8. Prompt Response

It is important to address customer complaints. Show understanding. Assure them that you are actively working towards a solution. Responding quickly demonstrates your commitment to customer satisfaction and helps prevent frustration from escalating. Once you have listened to the customer's complaint and they have had a chance to calm down it is your turn to take the lead and gather all the information. Now is the moment for you to calmly ask clarifying questions initiating a conversation with the customer. By being kind, attentive, acknowledging their concerns and apologizing when needed you will begin to build trust with your customer.

However, it is crucial not to repeat questions that the customer has already answered. Asking them again can reignite emotions. Give the impression that you were not attentive in the place.


9. Provide self-help publications

To quickly resolve customer complaints, provide self-help publications with them. This is just an additional tip on how to handle customer complaints. It came from the idea that the best form of assistance is thought to be self-help.

A Harvard Business Review report found that 81% of consumers prefer to handle problems on their own. As a result, they only look for assistance when circumstances get chaotic. Self-service is incredibly rapid, but other types of help, like telephone conversations, social networking sites, and tickets, may not be sought as much. You may have read about instances of poor client assistance on social networks.

There is a method for quickening the complaints management procedure. Share the URL of a pertinent self-help article right away if a client contacts you with a concern via chats, online networks, or even through your ticketing solutions. The answer doesn't need to be manually typed or repeated numerous instances while in contact.

Client's complaints will be quickly remedied if you point them in the direction of the appropriate self-help articles. The further you encourage self-service, the simpler it will be to respond to customer support issues or, probably ideal, the less likely they will arise in the coming years. Take note that this technique is applicable to mild grievances.


10. Active listening and be kind

Make sure you pay attention to customer concerns and show that you are actively listening by summarizing their points. This demonstrates respect for their perspective and your commitment to finding a solution. Once you have listened to them rephrase the problem to acknowledge it and show that you understand. By rephrasing you assure customers that you truly comprehend the nature of the issue even if you don't necessarily agree with them. It can be difficult to put your ego and express regret for their experience. Doing so gives you an advantage in handling the situation effectively. Apologizing doesn't mean that you agree — it's about recognizing the problem. Sometimes to calm down someone who's angry or frustrated it's important to be kind and understanding. Start by showing appreciation to the customer for expressing their concerns and letting them know that you genuinely want to understand how they feel.


Final Thoughts on How to Handle a Customer Complaint

Ultimately, not all consumer concerns will be addressed to the delight of the consumer, and perhaps a few clients may still leave angry. Nonetheless, it's up to your perseverance to deliver remarkable support on how to handle customer complaints. You can use CRM software like Bitrix24 that integrates a complete contact center  to handle and resolve any customer complaints and prevent unthinkable situations. Register right away!


FAQs

What do customer complaints mean?

Customer complaints are expressions of dissatisfaction with a business's goods, services, or assistance. Client support demands are high among buyers, and when they aren't fulfilled, grievances are frequently filed. Direct client review of this kind is typically sent to a company via email to the customer service team or survey.

Why should you accept customer complaints?

Customer complaints should be accepted because they are not intended to be rude to you. Customers file disputes since they discovered something troubling about your company's operations. Once you fix it, you'll indeed be fixing it for other consumers who had the same issue but couldn't bring themselves to speak.

What are the negative effects of mishandling customer complaints?

The negative effects of mismanaging customer complaints include:
  • Deteriorated reputation
  • Leads have a higher chance of not be converted
  • The customer lifetime value will steadily decline
  • Might lose the best employees
  • The business might be engaged in a profit-sucking loop

What is a customer complaint handling system?

The entire procedure of processing, administering, resolving, and documenting client concerns is referred to as the customer complaint handling system. To guarantee quicker responses, this system necessitates a comprehensive and integrated method but also continuous vigilance. By implementing such a system, you'll preserve your company's reputation.

How does efficiently handling customer complaints affect the company?

Understanding how to handle a customer complaint efficiently will have a positive impact on the company:
  • Enhances brand reputation
  • Identifies key areas of improvement
  • Provides opportunities to communicate genuinely with the clients
  • Boosts customer satisfaction
  • Gives insightful information on how well-trained the front-line staff is


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Table of Content
10 Solutions for Addressing Customer Complaints 1. Permit the client to voice and hear their issues 2. Be empathetic with your client 3. Offer an apology no matter the situation is 4. Determine the type of customer and react appropriately 5. Train Your Team and make it quickly 6. Create a policy for handling customer complaints and offer a solution 7. Make continual follow-ups 8. Prompt Response 9. Provide self-help publications 10. Active listening and be kind Final Thoughts on How to Handle a Customer Complaint FAQs What do customer complaints mean? Why should you accept customer complaints? What are the negative effects of mishandling customer complaints? What is a customer complaint handling system? How does efficiently handling customer complaints affect the company?

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