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5 Effective Tips On How To Handle Customer Complaints

August 28, 2023

5 Effective Tips On How To Handle Customer Complaints

Good customer service is the backbone of any business, because the support of loyal customers is what allows us to continue growing and moving forward. Therefore, knowing how to handle customer complaints is a crucial skill that your agents must possess in order to keep churn rates low and customer satisfaction high. At the end of the day, there’s so much more to handling customer complaints than simply solving the issue at hand – keeping the relationship with your customers intact requires us to respond quickly, practice empathy, and track complaints to prevent the situation from repeating itself with other customers in the future. Join us as we dive into our 5 top tips for managing complaints that you can implement within your customer service team’s strategy and training materials today.

1. Ask The Right Questions

Managing the conversation is a huge part of working in customer service. Typically, customers may feel intense emotions when they contact a brand with a complaint. If the conversation spirals out of control because of the frustration the customer may be experiencing, the agent on the other end will struggle to determine the root of the issue and find a solution. Therefore, encourage your agents to dig deeper during the interaction and find key insights by asking clarifying questions, such as:

  • “What do you mean by…”
  • “Could you please give me an example?”
  • “Could you elaborate on that? “
  • “Did you try…”

Sometimes, the answers your agents will get in response may determine that they’re not the right person to resolve the complaint, which gives the agent the opportunity to direct customers to the correct department for assistance.

2. Determine The Type Of Customer You’re Working With

When agents understand the mindset and motivations of the customer they’re working with, they’ll be in a better position to get to the root of the problem without adding more friction to the interaction. A 2020 study completed at the University of Florida found that there are a few distinct types of customers that businesses will encounter when handling customer complaints.

  • The Meek Customer will generally not complain much, even during difficult customer service conversations. However, their demeanor makes them more likely to leave quietly after a poor experience where their comments or needs are not addressed or resolved.
  • The Aggressive Customer is the total opposite of the Meek Customer. This type is willing to express their dissatisfaction loudly and display aggressive behavior – especially if met with reasons or excuses about the complaint they’ve presented to customer service. However, be sure not to return the aggression. Actively listen, recognize the problem, and let them know the steps you’ll be taking to resolve it.
  • The High-Roller Customer expects the best and is ready to pay top dollar to receive it. This customer also doesn’t respond well to excuses, so getting directly to the point and solving their issue is the best approach.
  • The Chronic Complainer Customer typically contacts your brand quite often, always with a complaint or negative word to share. However, it’s important not to dismiss them. Instead, practice empathy with them, listen intently to their issue, and give them the opportunity to voice their concerns before addressing and resolving their complaint.

Though not all customers will fit neatly into these categories, understanding how to interact with each type of customer will give your agents a better idea of how to approach various situations.

3. Provide Quick, Thorough Responses

When working through a customer complaint, especially one that affects a customer’s ability to use the product or service they’ve purchased or interrupts their routine, extended wait times often make customers feel even more exasperated with the situation. In fact, studies have shown that 44% of people report feeling annoyed, irritated, or angry with even a 5 to 15-minute wait time. To avoid negative reactions caused by long holds or wait times, be sure to have enough coverage on all of your customer service channels and consider using helpdesk software to filter complaints based on their severity. We also highly recommend creating standard operating procedures (SOPs) that can act as a cheat sheet to help your agents quickly resolve typical customer service requests. The faster you can respond to a complaint and find a well-researched solution that sticks, the better the overall experience will be for the customer.

4. Present & Verify Your Solution

Let’s be honest – there’s nothing worse than being presented with a solution to a problem that doesn’t actually work.Therefore, it’s imperative to verify the solutions your team presents to customers by checking with them before disconnecting or ending the conversation. If the solution worked, wrap up the interaction by asking the customer if there’s anything else they need. If it didn’t, ensure that the customer correctly followed all of the steps you outlined, and circle back to find a new solution if necessary. You never want to risk ending a conversation without knowing that the complaint has been fully addressed and resolved.

5. Document All Complaints For Future Reference

Repetitive complaints are frustrating for both your customers and your team because it means that something within a system or process isn’t working as it should be. To avoid repeat issues that affect your customers and clog your team’s support queues, use helpdesk software like Gorgias, Gladly, or Zendesk to track complaints and monitor how often the same issue is being brought to your customer service agents. The more complaints you see about a singular issue, the more your team should be focused on identifying the root of the issue to make the necessary adjustments and prevent it from reoccurring in the future.

Partner With Trained TalentPop Agents To Handle Customer Complaints The Right Way In Your E-Commerce Business

No matter how big or small an E-Commerce business may be, there will always be customer complaints and issues for the customer service team to solve. However, if your team has the knowledge and key customer service skills they need to handle customer complaints correctly, your brand will be better positioned to offer a positive & seamless customer experience every time. At TalentPop, our agents are here to help you make a splash in your industry by resolving & handling customer complaints quickly and efficiently. Plus, with our transparent pricing model and scalable solutions that allow you to increase or decrease your support based on need, there’s never been a better time to partner with us and give your brand the edge it needs to thrive in a competitive marketplace. Schedule a call with us today to learn more about how our trained agents can help your brand improve customer satisfaction in Q4.

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