Turning Customer Complaints into Opportunities for Improvement

Customer Complaints

Customers are becoming increasingly more sophisticated, meaning that they are liable to be more vocal about their complaints. Considering how easy it is to share these issues on social media, and the ease with which they go viral, call center services and support teams must take careful steps to deal with these issues properly. 

In this article, we’ll look at how to handle complaints and turn them into opportunities. 

Practice Active Listening

When a customer is complaining angrily about your company, it’s challenging not to feel defensive. Your first instinct is likely to make excuses or explain to the client why they’re wrong. However, when you’re thinking about what you’ll say next, you’re likely to miss the salient points your client raises. 

Instead of working out your response in your head, listen to your customer and take notes. If necessary, ask them clarifying questions to make sure that you understand the full gist of the situation. 

Teach your team not to interrupt clients and not to become defensive. 

Acknowledge and Empathize

The whole issue may be a big misunderstanding, but the client still has every right to feel frustrated. Start by acknowledging the customer’s feelings and even ask yourself how you’d react in the same circumstance. 

Doing this allows you to show the client you understand how they feel and that you’re willing to see things from their perspective. This shows them that you’re ready to work out an amicable solution with them rather than working against them. 

Apologize Sincerely

We all make mistakes at times. Offering a sincere apology is the best way to start repairing the relationship. If the issue’s due to a mistake on the customer’s part, don’t even bring it up. You can apologize for the frustration or inconvenience they’ve experienced. 

By taking accountability, you show the customer you’re serious about resolving the situation. You also begin de-escalating the situation, because they’re likely expecting you to be defensive.

Finally, take the responsibility to find an equitable solution. If you can’t resolve the issue immediately, explain what the next steps are to your client. If you give them any timelines at this stage, be sure that you can adhere to them. Also, make sure that you have the customer’s correct contact details. 

Investigate and Understand

Dig into the issue to determine what happened. Explain the complaint to the relevant department and ensure they investigate it thoroughly. 

Resolve the Issue

Follow up with the relevant departments to ensure that they have the right fix. Find a way to fix the client’s immediate problem before dealing with any other issues that may come to the fore. 

Communicate the Resolution

Contact the customer as soon as possible to explain how you solved the issue. Explain what steps you’ll take to ensure it doesn’t happen again. 

What Lessons Can You Learn? 

You can turn complaints into opportunities by identifying any procedural or systemic issues at play. View the complaint as feedback, and lodge it as such. 

Analyze Trends

You should regularly review your complaint data to identify patterns that indicate a fixable, general issue. AI can be helpful in providing insights by wading through swathes of data. 

Implement Improvements

If you identify issues, you must work towards improving them. Ask for buy-in from your employees and work on improving your internal processes. 

Train the Team

When you’re ready to implement these solutions, make sure that your team understands the new processes. You must train your team and give them the resources to deal with the situation.

Monitor Progress

You’ll need to continuously monitor how the improvements are impacting your business. Are complaint resolution times and customer satisfaction scores improving? 

Solicit Feedback

Invite customers to give you feedback on the changes. You might even reach out to the original complainant and see what they think. 

Recognize and Reward

Implement a system that acknowledges and rewards employees who identify potential issues and give constructive advice on resolving systemic problems. Encourage your employees to think of ways to improve internal processes.  

Follow-Up With Complainants

Reach out to the customers who complained and find out how they’re doing and if they’re happy with the resolution. This follow-up makes it possible for the customer to raise any further issues and also reassures them that your company takes their satisfaction seriously. 

Share the Successes With Your Team

It can be disheartening to deal with frustrated clients, so make sure that your team knows about times when you turn those complaints around. 

In Conclusion

Dealing with customer complaints can be tricky, but it’s best to see them as an opportunity rather than a nuisance. Many upset clients don’t take the time to voice their dissatisfaction to your team but rather moan to their friends and families. 

Those that do afford you the opportunity to make things right. By following these steps, you can take full advantage of this.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.