Your customers are the reason you are in business. However, someone is going to end up unhappy with your products or services eventually. How you navigate customer complaints will have a major impact on your future success.
According to the service recovery paradox, a satisfactorily resolved customer complaint can lead to better customer satisfaction in the future than if a customer had never experienced a problem.
To achieve this boost in customer satisfaction, your business needs to know how to quickly and effectively turn complaints into customer care. This guide will show you how.
- Customer complaints give you an opportunity to solve problems within the customer journey.
- Understanding the type of customer you are dealing with can help you form an appropriate resolution.
- Tracking customer complaints over time can reveal significant issues that your company needs to solve.
What Do Customer Complaints Mean?
Your goal is to satisfy every customer. Unfortunately, you might feel like you have failed when your customers complain. Customers might complain about a faulty product or bad service, which can make you feel attacked.
On the surface, complaints seem straightforward – something didn’t work the way it was supposed to. However, when you look deeper, complaints reveal a disconnect between what the customer expects from you and what they experienced. Complaints can also expose something your business or one of your partners is doing poorly.
The only way to uncover and repair those problems is by fully listening to your customers and taking their feedback seriously.
How to Navigate Customer Complaints in 5 Steps
Understanding your customers’ concerns and quickly finding a resolution is crucial to solving customer problems. Use this five-step process to resolve your customer complaints.
1. Ask the Right Questions
When a customer complains, your first reaction may be to become defensive. However, staying calm and digging deeper into the situation can help you uncover the problem.
When handling customer complaints, you should use the Socratic questioning method. This can help you stay calm and explore the problem in depth.
Here are some questions you could ask the customer:
- What do you think is the main problem?
- Could you give me an example?
- What do you mean by…?
- What other information do I need?
When you ask questions like this, it can help a customer think more about their issue. You can also ask yourself questions like:
- Why is this issue important?
- What assumptions am I making?
- Does this complaint stem from other problems?
As you explore these questions, it can help you determine if the complaint is genuine and reveals a problem within the customer journey.
If you realize you are not the person who can solve their problem, be transparent with the customer. Tell them why you can’t solve their problem and who you are going to transfer them to.
2. Understand What Type of Customer You Are Dealing With
A study from the University of Florida found that there are five types of customers. Understanding which type you are dealing with can help with your customer complaint strategy.
- Premium customers: These customers want only the best possible service and are willing to pay more for it. They could complain reasonably or be more aggressive. Be respectful and ask important questions.
- Aggressive customers: If you encounter an aggressive customer, they are not afraid of complaining loudly and for as long as it takes. With this type of customer, you need to be an active listener, acknowledge the problem, and offer a solution. Do not reciprocate their anger.
- Quiet customers: Quiet customers may never complain. They also might decide to leave your business and never return. With quiet customers, it is important to actively seek out their complaints and respond appropriately.
- Entitled customers: This type of customer may not want their problem solved. Instead, they expect to get something for free. They may frequently say your solutions are “not good enough” and want something they are not entitled to. With these customers, stay objective and use quantifiable data. Offer them the same resolutions you would give other customers.
- Repeat complainers: Repeat complainers are always willing to complain. However, unlike entitled customers, they may accept your solutions and appreciate your efforts. You will need to be patient and listen respectfully without expressing your own frustration. These customers are frequently repeat customers and do tend to share their positive experiences with others.
Of course, there can be other types of customers and customers who are a hybrid of these types. However, these broad descriptions can help you form an appropriate response to various complaints.
3. Quickly Respond to the Customer
The faster you can solve a customer complaint, the better it will be for your company. Quick responses are a necessity for good customer relationships, especially for particularly frustrated customers.
You can use a form of triage to separate the minor inconveniences from the irate customers. Create separate folders or helplines for each customer complaint “level” so customer support specialists know which customers to handle first.
4. Verify a Resolution
Once you have identified the cause of the complaint and solved the problem, you need to verify the solution with the customer. If you are speaking on the phone, simply ask them if the problem is fixed. If communicating through email, verify that the solution is working for them, if possible. Tell the customer to respond if there is still a problem.
In some situations, you should reach out to the customer again after a few days to make sure everything is okay.
5. Keep Track of Complaints
One of the most important things your company can do with customer complaints, after resolving them, is to keep track of them. One complaint on a specific issue a year shouldn’t be significant, but multiple complaints within a short timeframe are something you need to address.
High-volume complaints reveal more serious problems within the customer journey. Give these your highest priority.
Use Televerde’s Solutions to Effectively Manage Your Customers
By effectively responding to customer complaints, you can earn more satisfied customers who keep coming back for more.
At Televerde, we understand the importance of quality customer service. We offer businesses a unique omnichannel experience that connects customer service to marketing and sales to increase revenue.
If you are ready to experience the next generation of customer lifecycle solutions, contact us at Televerde today.