Every organization that offers goods and services to the general public needs to hold its customers in high esteem. As long as customers keep patronizing your business organization, there are bound to be complaints. When your customers are well treated, valued, and appreciated by your employees, that is quality customer service delivery. It goes a long way in maintaining a healthy relationship between the business organization and the customers.
The unit or department saddled with the responsibility of receiving and tackling customer complaints is regarded as the customer service or the customer support (unit). The work of customer service is not limited to resolving customer complaints alone; they consist of those policies, plans, and activities that govern how your organization interacts with your customers.
“The customer is always right.” is a slogan attributed to the trio of Harry Gordon Selfridge, John Wanamaker, and Marshall Field.
The ability or capability of the customer representative to resolve customer complaints, whether genuine or not, in real-time, can not be overemphasized. Sometimes, the customer complaints may not be related to the company goods or services, but since they are among your company’s patrons, it is essential to walk the journey with them.
Ways to Handle Customer Complaints
1. Stay Calm
Staying calm in the face of heat is hard but worth it. When handling customer complaints as customer support, it is essential to be calm and relaxed. Some customers might sound rude and mean, some may use abusive and demeaning words in lodging their complaints, but the best way to handle the situation is to stay calm. Some of the attributes of good customer service are to be calm, relaxed, composed, and collected. To get the full details of the complaint and satisfy the customer's needs or resolve the complaints, you have to be calm.
Two wrongs do not make a right. While the customer is angry and frustrated, the customer service representative must stay calm and devise ways to keep the customer calm. Sometimes, it is when the customer is calm that you can be able to pass across the required solution, and uncalm customer support can not make the similarly uncalm complainants calm.
2. Listen Attentively
It is important to listen attentively when a customer is lodging their complaints and do not interrupt them. Most times, all the customer needs is to be heard. It could be unrelated to the goods and services that the organization is offering. It could be that the customer is having a bad day, turbulent times, depression, or other personal issues. It is, therefore, your obligation as customer support to listen attentively to customer complaints.
Also, some complaints are genuine and technical; you need to listen attentively to deduce where to tackle the problem at hand. It is when you pay maximum attention to the customer complaints that the customer service can analyze the situation and resolve it.
Sometimes, the customer service assumes that they know what the customer complaints are. Since the complaints sound similar to what has been previously resolved, the customer service representative assumes that they can use the former approach for the latter complaint; this might be wrong. It is when you listen attentively that you get to realize that even though the customer complaints are similar, they have their peculiarities.
3. Acknowledge the Complaint
After you have listened attentively to the customer complaints, the customer support should acknowledge the problem which the customer is facing and repeat it back to the customers to be sure they are on the same page. When you acknowledge the problems, it does not necessarily imply that you agree with customer complaints. It only shows that you understand their grievances and that you, as the customer support, are readily available to resolve the complaints.
Acknowledging the complaints goes a long way in restoring hope and confidence in the complainants that everything is or will soon be under control.
4. Be Kind
Most times, when customers are relating their complaints, they are already disturbed and frustrated; you, therefore, need to show empathy and understanding in diffusing that anger and frustration. Just like we mentioned earlier, some customer complaints are not related to the service rendered by the business organization; they are personal, and these customers need someone to talk and clear their mind; the customer service, therefore, needs to be kind and show concerns to their plights
According to Fredrick Greenwood, “Kindness is no virtue but a common duty.”
Also, some customers transfer frustration and aggression to customer support. The complaints could be on trivial issues, but the transfer of attack may be towards the customer service; when you show kindness, you can weather the storm and tackle the complaints head-on.
5. Ask Questions
Another way to tackle customer complaints effectively is to ask questions concerning the problems they are facing. After listening to the customer and calming them, it is time to ask them questions to know the root or cause of the problem and where to resolve it.
If customer service does not get the details of the complaints right, it would be difficult to resolve the complaints. It is when you ask questions that you can get the necessary information required to tackle the problem. The questions to be asked by the customer support should be conversational. They are meant for clarifications and should be as concise as possible.
6. Document their Responses
When customers call to lodge their complaints while you're trying to solve the problem, it is important to document those complaints. At the end of the call or when you have successfully tackled the problem, you can document the procedures involved.
Also, complaints help in improving the activities of the business organization. To forestall a problem that a customer encountered, you can provide a lasting solution to it so that other customers won't have to report the same issue. This can only be done by documenting the response generated. The customer service can also document frequently asked questions and complaints so that whenever a customer comes up with a related complaint, you know where to direct them and get the problem fixed with ease.
7. Speedy Solution
After gathering all the necessary information and details from the customer complaints, it is essential to find the solution to the problem as soon as possible. The faster the customer support can come up with a solution, the happier the customer will be.
In some cases, the complainant may be in urgent need of the product before running into a problem; such a customer needs a critical solution and would not hang up until the answer is provided. Customer support needs to do everything possible to save the customer's time while delivering top-notch customer service. The solution to the customer complaints could be freebies, incentives, discounts or other welfare packages. In doing this, the customer service should ensure that these incentives are in line with the guEidelines and protocols of the business organization.
8. Show Appreciation
To tackle customer complaints, you have to swallow your ego and apologize for the inconvenience the problem might have caused. No one wants to encounter issues while patronizing a business organization, but these problems are inevitable; the customer service needs to tender an apology on behalf of the company.
When customer support apologizes for the problems encountered, it does not mean that they agree or accept that the problem is their fault; it only shows that they value you as a customer and hold you in high esteem. Thanking your customer is a form of appreciation that they reached out to you to resolve their complaints. Sometimes, when customers encounter problems using a product, that is the end of their relationship with the business organization, they go elsewhere.
9. Follow Up
Another way to tackle customer complaints is to follow up after resolving the customer complaints. Follow-up is like an icing on the cake; it further cements the relationship between the customer and the business organization. When customer support reaches out to the customer later to know whether the solution provided is effective, it shows that the customer's plight and concern are a top priority to the organization.
During the follow-up, ensure you apologize once again and assure the customer that you can resolve other complaints as soon as they encounter them. Follow-up is good; it creates a sense of belonging in the mind of the customer.
10. Using Customer Support Tools
The role of customer service is numerous; it is not limited to customer complaints alone. It entails all the activities deployed towards customer satisfaction. To tackle customer complaints and deliver excellent customer service to your customers, there is the need to integrate the right customer support tools and software into the day-to-day activities of the Customer service representatives.
While there is numerous best customer support software to make service delivery more accessible and faster, the best tool that every business organization needs is Support.cc developed by project500apps. This customer support software has several functions and tools embedded, such as the multipurpose helpdesk that provides faster and better support for your customers. It also allows the customer service representatives to generate feedback from the support operations on a centralized platform.
In this tweet by Nick Durante, he is thanking Seamless, a restaurant, for taking note and acknowledging his earlier complaints. He further added that they have excellent customer service.
While the customer service representatives do not like to receive complaints, these complaints can be used to improve customer service delivery and the organization's output in general. There are different types of customers, and their complaints vary, but the global best practice for customer service is to relate well with the customers and provide solutions to their complaints.
Support.cc is a powerful software that can be integrated into the work process of the customer support representative to bring about efficient customer service delivery.