Handling Customer Complaints – The Right Way

When someone says that nobody’s perfect, the same goes for any business. There will definitely be a complaint, regardless of the industry or field in which the company operates. The task of the customer service team is to address those complaints and satisfy the customer as much as possible with the solution.

If the customer service team is looking for the right way on handling customer complaints, the following steps will help.

1. Stay Cool

Customer service staff should keep calm whenever a customer visit or contacts for a complaint. Their emotions can be coming from the inconvenience of discomfort brought by the product or service that they have availed from the company. Customers can attack the staff personally but keep in mind where they might be coming from. Their anger may sound personal, but it is a result of the trouble they have experienced.

Employees should maintain their cool whenever these instances happen. Remember to not take it personally, as customers might be saying those words to vent out what they truly feel. It’s a different story if the customer starts to threaten someone’s life or begins to damage company property. Call the security department if the customer doesn’t want to calm down after a few warnings.

2. Paying Attention

Take advantage of the situation by getting some information while the customer is venting out. If possible, write down all of the important details that could help in knowing the root cause of the concern. This will avoid the customer from repeating himself or herself that may further trigger their anger. The staff may also look for verbal cues if the customer is dealt with in a face-to-face setting.

3. Empathy

Once the customer is done venting out, pause for a second or two to avoid interruption just in case they are not yet finished talking. Proceed on expressing empathy, as the staff will make the customer feel that they are still a human being even if he or she is working on behalf of the company.

This will create an impression to the customer that the staff will react the same way when the same situation happened to them. It may also give the idea that the staff is on the customer’s side and willing to assist, even though the solution is not in the company’s best interests.

4. Ask for More Information

Once the customer kept their emotions at bay, this is the time to confirm understanding. Upon confirmation that the staff and the customer are on the same page, the customer service staff can now proceed to ask for more details that will help find a solution or know the root cause of the issue. The gathered information will be used to look for the best solution fit for the customer.

5. Providing the Solution

Once the staff has figured out the most appropriate solution to the customer complaint, inform the customer and start on discussing why it is the best option for his or her issue. Start by letting the customer know what is for him or her with the chosen solution. Begin with the benefits and advantages while comparing it to other options, if possible.

6. Handle Objections

If the customer would ask for another option, choose the next best solution. In the event that all other solutions are not available, calmly inform the customer by highlighting how the only solution will be able to fix the problem.

If the customer objected, ask what is their preferred solution and give it to them if available. Remind the customer of the full terms and conditions, including the advantage and disadvantages of their chosen fix for the complaint.

7. Inform Turnaround Time (TAT)

If the option chosen by the customer needs time before the complaint can be fixed, provide the TAT to manage their expectation. Explain carefully and in detail if possible, why the chosen solution will take time.

The customer service department should stick to the promised turnaround time to avoid another complaint with the same customer. They may take their complaints through social media or review sites, which will affect how loyal and potential customers see the company.

8. Offer Additional Help

Some solutions may require additional help that the staff can assist with. Instead of keeping silent while helping out the customer, use this opportunity to communicate with the customer if there is anything that they have to be informed of.

This step can be considered to ‘go the extra mile with the customer. If the customer seems to be calm at this point and satisfied with the solution, build some rapport that may help in remembering the solution provided. Leave a good impression that can make the solution more memorable than their complaint.

9. Ask for a Follow-Up

Some customer service teams are mandated or have the option to contact the customer again after a few days or weeks. This time, the customer service team would ask questions to know if the solution provided has worked after their visit or contact.

Begin with the proper introduction and look for the person the staff has originally spoken to regarding the complaint. In case the provided solution did not last for a long time, offer other means that can help the customer deal with the original complaint.

10. Request Feedback

Satisfied or not, ask customers for feedback. The information provided can be used to improve the way customer service staff deals with the customers. Remember that in doing customer feedback forms, it should be easy to answer with enough space for additional comments that might not be asked in the questionnaire.

Employees usually avoid handling complaints with the fear that it might affect their KPIs. However, customer service staff who always handle this kind of concern would always end up more knowledgeable than the others. Being able to assist customers with their issues and turning them into more loyal customers is a rewarding experience.

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