Handling customer complaints can sometimes be a tedious and frustrating job in your business.
It will never be frustrating if only we truly know the importance of handling customer complaints.
Yes, handling customer complaints properly and resolving the customer complaints as quickly and efficiently as possible is the number one key in making your business successful.
Most businesses fail simply because of refusing to consider customer complaints seriously.
Research says 91% of customers just leave a business without complaining, and 66% of customers switch to other brands only due to bad service.
To make things worse, 13% of unhappy customers will share their complaint with 15 or more people.
This is the reason, handling customer complaints with grace and patience is extremely important.
Practical Steps to Handling Customer Complaints
So having understood the importance of handling customer complaints, ‘let’s look at the five practical steps in handling customer complaints properly.
- Be calm, Listen, and Understand.
- Solve the problem and follow-up.
- Find an effective system to reduce complaints.
- Train your customer agents to handle customer complaints effectively.
- Ticketing system.
BE CALM, LISTEN AND UNDERSTAND:
One of the most important things that we need to learn in handling customer complaints is learning to handle our emotions.
Do not let anxiety to grip you when they come up with a complaint or when they are harsh.
Not every customer is going to be soft and kind when they are coming up with their complaints. Sometimes you need to go through some tough customers.
Just make sure that you ‘don’t let their words affect your emotions and start reacting negatively. This might affect your business reputation very severely.
Being defensive can create a wrong impression on your customers.
Be kind even when the mistake is not on your end.
My Encounter with Anxiety in Customer Support
Let me explain what we did when we had an issue like that with one of our customers with our last update and how we dealt with it.
We had a significant update with our product recently, and it was huge. So many features, so many changes in our design and so many fixes. We tested it almost four times with improving it each time.
After working on it so hard, we finally released it, and we were happy with it as many customers were delighted with the update.
Many appreciated us.
Amid this excitement, we received a support mail with some terrible language. He said that the update has completely broken his site.
As a customer relationship person, I was handling this issue.
At first, when I saw the mail, I started to be stressed out and was very anxious about what we are going to do.
Though many customers were happy and everything was working fine, this one customer scared the hell out of me.
My thoughts began to assume things like, so that would be the case for everyone; everyone is going to come up with this complaint and blah blah.
‘That’s the problem with anxiety. Anxiety makes you assume many things which are not simply true.
Then, I took a step aside and said to myself, “Everything is going to be fine. Just be calm and try to understand what is exactly happening”.
Then I calmed myself and replied to him, asking apologies first and then asked for the details.
Though he was still harsh in his replies, I just decided not to be anxious and started to check the issue in his site.
I was not rushing up with anything; I was figuring out the cause. Being calm enough, a thought came to my head, “What if he uploaded the file wrongly” (As no-one else had any problem).
Then taking courage, I just re-uploaded the file, and everything was utterly perfect. That simple was it.
That would be the case in many issues. Though the problem may not be on our end, they might come up with some harsh words, not necessarily they mean it, but because of the disappointment or anything else.
‘It’s our responsibility not to let our emotions overtake us and to stay calm and gentle. When we could stay that way, it also would be of much help to us in figuring out the cause.
As someone beautifully said, “You have authority over every storm you can sleep in.”
SOLVE THE PROBLEM AND FOLLOW-UP:
This is an essential step in handling customer complaints.
Solving the problem ‘doesn’t always mean fixing it in a way you thought.
Make sure to ask your customers what the acceptable solution could be for them or suggest them a solution and make sure whether they are comfortable with it.
Every problem would definitely have a solution.
Though customers ask for a solution which could not be done as per your company standards or other complications, focus on an alternative way which would satisfy them instead of rejecting it altogether.
Just let them know that you are really concerned about their problem and making every effort to solve it.
Only in an unavoidable situation, let the customer know that you cannot solve it. However, be quick enough to go for a refund or anything else they request.
Once you have solved their problem, make sure to follow them up whether they are satisfied with the solution you have provided.
If they are not satisfied, think about the other possible solutions that could be done to remedy the problem.
Doing so will give a good impression for your clients/customers on your business. It will also encourage them to recommend your company to other customers and can often lead to repeat business.
In our case, most of the five-star rating we received for our product was by following up with the customers after providing a solution or feature they requested.
FIND AN EFFECTIVE SYSTEM TO REDUCE COMPLAINTS:
One of the critical steps in handling customer complaints is not handling the same thing over and over.
Finding an effective way to reduce constant complaints is very crucial in handling customer complaints.
Lots of money, energy, and time will be wasted if we are handling the same complaints over and over.
So, what is the solution?
The best way to reduce the constant complaints is to record all the complaints and organize every repetitive question with the solutions using a knowledgebase tool.
What is Knowledgebase?
The knowledgebase is a well-organized database used for creating and sharing knowledge content.
The software which helps in the collection, organization and retrieval of knowledge content is called a knowledge base software.
Knowledge base software is usually used in online libraries to manage information about a product, service, or topic.
In our case, to reduce complaints, a knowledge base will be a perfect tool to organize all the questions and answers in a single page so every customer can find the solutions to their problem by themselves rather than coming up to you every time.
This will highly reduce the complaints you receive on an everyday basis so you can better handle other complaints which are unavoidable.
If you are looking for the best Knowledgebase software, we highly recommend Helpie knowledgebase software.
Helpie is an advanced knowledge base software for creating, sharing, and collaborating knowledge content.
Helpie knowledge base is a WordPress plugin; that is, you have to use it with WordPress CMS.
WordPress is easy to use, and a beginner-friendly CMS (Content Management System) with which you can build any type of website.
Helpie plugin adds knowledge base features to your WordPress website.
TRAIN YOUR CUSTOMER AGENTS TO HANDLE CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS EFFECTIVELY:
Training your employees to handle the complaints properly, following specific guidelines can significantly help in handling customer complaints better.
Make sure to invest your time and money for giving the best training for your employees, which will be a vital point in the success of your business.
However, the problem is that much small business does not have time to train the new hires patiently.
Most businesses need to train new hires faster and cannot afford to spend thousands of every month on a training system.
The best way to solve this problem is to create a knowledge management portal for, which contains all the collaboratively acquired knowledge content.
A Knowledge Management System helps you to create, share, and manage organizational knowledge for employees to learn.
It is also a collaborative space where you can document the discussions and the decision-making process, which helps the employees to enhance their knowledge and skills and apply them at appropriate times.
It could also have all the documents such as FAQs, Guides, and other helpful content to assist in employee training.
A good knowledge base software will help you to create a smart knowledge management system for employee training.
The last step in handling customer complaints is to implement a ticketing system for your business.
Improving the quality of customer support is the most critical part in handling customer complaints. When you improve your customer support, it makes your customers happy.
This will also increase the chances of customers acting as evangelists of your brand, spreading the right word about the quality of service that they received from you. This will also lead to more sales in the future.
Ticketing software helps businesses achieve it by enhancing the quality of customer support.
A ticketing system is a software/tool that collects all customer support requests from a wide range of sources and manages them in one location.
Attending the customer’s issues and resolving it on time without any lag/issue is crucial for any business.
A Helpdesk ticketing system will help streamline this process quickly and ensures that all interactions with their employees/customers are efficient, relevant, and personal.
Both the customer and employee can be aware of the status of a particular ticket throughout the lifecycle of the ticket and not just when it gets resolved.
These are the five essential steps in handling customer complaints.
I hope this helped you to understand the importance of handling customer complaints and how to do it better.
Feel free to let us know in the comments which one you are planning to implement for your organization.