6 Basic Tips for Handling Customer Complaints

Customer complaints should always be treated seriously and dealt with in a timely manner.  Serious ones are usually obvious, but even those that appear trivial may be backed by considerable emotion.  Appreciate that you are hearing from the customer because you now have the opportunity to correct the problem.  A dissatisfied customer who doesn’t complain is (monopolies excepted) usually a lost customer.  Customer complaints that are not appropriately addressed can fester and become larger problems. 

Offering decent customer service should be neither costly nor complicated.  At its core, good customer service can be reduced to listening – letting the customer know that their complaint has been acknowledged and cataloged, and then working to remedy the situation if possible.  A good positive attitude and calm manner when dealing with irritated or dissatisfied customers can go a long way towards keeping a customer happy and halting them from expressing their feelings in an online public forum.  Here are five tips for dealing with customer complaints in an effective manner.

Tip #1 – Take a Proactive Stance 

A good attitude and a proactive stance can go a very long way towards diffusing an unhappy or angry customer.  Disappointed customers want to know that they are heard and that steps will be taken to remedy their situation.  Clearly communicating that you are working to fix the situation and doing so in a positive manner will diffuse most negative customer scenarios.

Tip #2 – Take Quick Action to Fix the Problem

Once a customer is calm and is feeling a little better about your company, there is still more work to do.  When you state that a problem will be addressed, it is essential that the problem is indeed addressed.  This is vitally important for the reputation of your company.  A failure to follow up on a promise to fix a situation could actually backfire and leave customers feeling as though they were initially manipulated.

Tip #3 – Always Stay Calm

A customer unhappy enough to write an email or post a negative review online is obviously displeased.  However, if a customer is angry enough to pick up the phone and call, you can be fairly certain that the customer in question is rather upset.  This anger may boil over on the phone call. That is why customer service representatives need to deal with that anger in a calm and collected fashion, never matching the anger of the customer or taking it personally.  Instead, they should focus on demonstrating that they are committed to fixing the problem. 

Tip #4 – Look for Customer Dissatisfaction Problem Patterns

If the same complaints and issues come up again and again, then it is likely that there is a larger problem to be addressed.  Similar complaints from different customers should be viewed as a great opportunity to improve your goods and/or services.  Once you have detected a negative customer service pattern, be sure that you and your team move quickly to remedy the problem.  Your business will be stronger for doing so in the long run.

Tip #5 – Invest in Customer Service Training

The time, effort, and money you invest in boosting the quality of your customer service team will yield significant positive results for the long-term. Investing in employee training ahead of time is seldom wasted.

Tip #6 – Track Your Success

It is important to never assume that you have successfully addressed customer service issues until customers have, in fact, verified that the situation is resolved.  It is wise to follow up with customers and ask for feedback via either mailed questionnaires, email follow ups, or phone calls.


Copyright: BBP and NESP
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