Handling, managing customer complaints

02 Aug, 2019 - 00:08 0 Views

eBusiness Weekly

Most business owners make the risk of undermining the essence of getting feedback, negative or positive from the people who drive their business. Your customers are your purest form of quality control. Without their approval, your business doesn’t grow and succeed.

So, when customers have a complaint it’s important to hear them out because these are opportunities to improve the customer experience and prevent potential churn. No matter which industry you’re in, you’re going to deal with customer complaints.

Even if your business doesn’t make a mistake( according to you, that is)at some point expect one of your customers to eventually hit a roadblock that leads them to your customer service team, hence it is important to prepare your reps for scenarios they will face with difficult or unhappy customers in order to increase the retention rate.

Customer complaints by definition Customer complaints are pieces of feedback that point out problems with your company’s product or services. These are opportunities for your business to improve its internal processes and create a better customer experience and below are a few typical complaints

  1. Long wait on hold

If your team works in a call centre, Average Time on Hold (ATH) is one of your most important call centre metrics. Customers want fast answers and can’t afford to spend their afternoon with a phone glued to their ear.

In fact, studies show that after about two minutes, customers are likely to hang up the phone and 34% of those customers won’t call back. That means you can potentially lose a third of your customer base just because you didn’t pick up the phone fast enough.

The resolve: Long hold times indicate two problems. First, it could mean that your customer demand is too high for your customer service team. In such a scenario, you should consider hiring more reps to meet the needs of your call centre. In the meantime, your reps should apologize for the long wait times and work to ensure first call resolution.

The other issue may be that your call centre lacks automation something call centre software can provide your service team with features that streamline operations and complete tasks automatically. By adopting this technology, you can optimize your team’s production by removing menial tasks from their day-to-day work-flow.

  1. Unavailable or out of stock product

It’s usually a good sign when a product goes out of stock, but if it stays out of stock, customers can become impatient for its return. They may demand a special order or repeatedly call for updates. This typically indicates a time-sensitive need for your product which should be fulfilled immediately.

The resolve: As a customer service rep, you might not have any say in when a new shipment will be ordered. Have your Reps to report these issues to the managers who can notify both sales and product management teams.

Service reps should encourage customers to remain patient and let them know that they’ll reach out when the shipment arrives. This type of proactive customer service will assure customers that you’re aware of their time-sensitive needs.

  1. Repeating the customer’s problem

Customers hate repeating their problems to the sales team. His happens when they’re either transferred to new reps or dealing with an agent who isn’t paying close attention. When customers have to describe their issue multiple times, it’s both a frustrating and time-consuming experience, I would too.

The resolve: If a customer is complaining about having to repeat their issue, the best step you can take is to stop transferring their call. Even if you need to connect the customer with a support team, reach out to that agent internally and see if you can relay the advice. This may be more tedious, but it will meet the customer’s immediate needs.

A long-term solution to this problem is to invest in help desk software. A help desk can manage and distribute incoming service requests to the most ideal agents. That way, your customers are connected directly to reps who are best suited to resolve their problems.

  1. Uninterested service rep

Whether it’s their tone, personality, or even just the time of day, some customers simply won’t get along with your customer service reps. When a rep fails to meet their needs, some customers think it’s due to a lack of interest in their case. Sometimes this is true, other times customers have expectations that are higher than what your team can provide. Regardless of where the fault lies, when your reps fail to appear invested, your business’s reputation takes the hit.

The resolve: When dealing with this type of customer complaint, reps should consider what they can do to provide above and beyond customer service. Every business has protocol, but it’s sometimes worth bending the rules if that means preventing customer churn. At the very least, reps should pay attention to their tone and body language to ensure they’re displaying a motivated and attentive demeanour. Train the team if the lack those skills.

If a customer does report an issue with a rep, management should always investigate the issue. Managers should give their reps the benefit of the doubt but try to get every possible detail. Rather than criticizing the rep’s approach, look for opportunities to teach the agent about preventing these types of situations. If these issues continue to occur, it may be time to take more severe actions.

  1. Poor product or service

When your product breaks, you can expect the customer to complain. In some cases, the product isn’t broken, rather, the customer doesn’t understand how to use it. Other times, customers aren’t a good fit for your product or service, but they blame your company for failing to fulfill their needs. No matter how customers arrive at this conclusion, your team needs to know how to prevent them from turning to your competitors.

The resolve: If the product isn’t broken, educate the customer. Find out what their goals and needs are, then teach them how they can use the product to achieve success. If the product is broken, provide options for immediate replacement and try to determine how it broke. If it was user error, gently point out to the customer how they can avoid this outcome in the future.

For a long-term solution, consider adopting customer feedback tools to survey customers about your product. Tried and tested examples include NPS surveys to measure customer satisfaction and learn how you can enhance your product’s features. These feedback tools provide both quantitative and qualitative data that you can use to improve product development.

We trust these few tips will go a long way in educating the team on handling complaints.


The views given herein are solely for information purposes; they are guidelines and suggestions and are not guaranteed to work in any particular way.


Robert Gonye is a Business Growth Expert and Influencer. He writes in his personal capacity. Comments and views: [email protected] [email protected]_gonye


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