Step-By-Step Guide: How to Handle Customer Complaints

Artificial intelligence (AI)

11 ways to deliver good customer service: Principles + tips

customer queries

Remind your team that an important part of communication is listening rather than continually speaking. Listening to customers will help them understand the issue at hand and what the customer’s expectation is for a customer queries resolution, showing them how to maximize customer satisfaction. If you suspect your team is falling short of expectations for response and issue resolution times, use data analytics to track your team’s performance.

First, negative interactions probably aren’t the norm (if they are, you’re doing something wrong). Second, negative feedback is usually specific to a certain product or thing. To uncover the reason you received a complaint from a customer and solve the problem in order to retain that customer, use this five-step process for handling customer complaints. Being able to assess and address customer complaints efficiently is key to making this happen. You can foun additiona information about ai customer service and artificial intelligence and NLP. Providing the customer with an effective solution can make them even more loyal than they were before.

This means poor product or service quality can result in increased customer complaints and lost business. First, it could mean that your customer Chat PG demand is too high for your customer service team. In this case, you should consider hiring more reps to meet the needs of your call center.

Also, give customers a way to connect with a rep in the right department if they can’t find the answers they need on their own. Also, wait times for chat support can vary, with averages ranging from nearly instant responses to about a minute and a half. Times on the higher end of the spectrum may lead to frustration for customers looking for a quick way to engage for help or information. The only way to find out is to give credence to customer complaints to determine if they contain genuinely useful feedback.

When customers make these types of requests, it shows they’re invested in your company and engaged with what you’re doing, so it’s good to show gratitude. In these cases, you should have a self-service space where your reps can direct these requests to. These product requests are valuable, but you can’t afford to have reps spending their day listening to customer ideas.

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Use our free call center upgrade checklist to find out if your call center is ready for a revamp. In some cases, it may even be worth reaching back out to the customer after a few days have passed to make sure that everything is resolved. Teams using Help Scout are set up in minutes, twice as productive, and save up to 80% in annual support costs. If you determine that you aren’t the right person to help with the customer’s complaint and need to transfer them to someone who can, make sure to explain why. This can be as simple as saying, “I’m going to set you up with our specialist who will get that squared away for you right away.” Complaints — even angry ones — can contain insights, and it’s your job to seek out the point of friction.

Some modern teams shy away from traditional live support options like phone support, but many help desks offer live chat solutions, which aren’t as resource intensive. Research found that millennials actually prefer chat support over any other form of support, so it could be a very worthwhile investment. Being bounced around and having to retell an issue multiple times is a bad experience.

Customer support teams must maintain a database of common customer support inquiries so they can anticipate issues frequently faced by customers, and address them even before they arise. In this way, anticipatory support can lower the number of support requests received. Since customers are already equipped with the required tools and guides to better understand and use your product or service, it reduces your customer support team’s burden. When a customer complains, determining the appropriate response can be harder than it sounds.

Keep a close watch on your company’s environment and culture to ensure employees are satisfied with their work and engaged. The alternative to “permanent, pervasive, and personal” is “temporary, specific, and external.” In this light, negative interactions become more manageable and actionable. If you want even more pointers on how to handle particularly difficult customers, check out our related article, How to Deal with Difficult Customers. Some help desks also offer the ability to integrate with certain software that make tracking feature requests even easier. For example, Help Scout has a Jira integration that allows you to create feature requests or link to existing ones all without leaving the message.

No one likes to deliver bad news, but sugarcoating often doesn’t do much for you in the long run. Otherwise you run the risk of misleading someone or needlessly dragging out an interaction, both of which can leave a bad taste in a customer’s mouth. Although all customer complaints are different and should be handled on an individual basis, there are a few best practices to keep in mind no matter what type of complaint comes your way. Company-based complaints are complaints that are about how your business operates or about direct interactions with your company. For example, this type of complaint could be someone reaching out after having a less-than-stellar interaction with someone on your team.

Show you trust their skills by empowering them to resolve issues on their own, with the right tools and access to information, of course. If customers visit your website and look for support options, provide a self-service portal where they can find the answers to their questions independently. In the event that they can’t, your solution should route them directly to a specialist in customer support who has the subject-matter expertise to answer their questions.

Use active listening to understand their complaint.

Onboarding refers to the entire process of helping new customers understand how to use your products and services. Customer onboarding is crucial because it sets the foundation for their long-term association with your brand. To identify high-volume complaints, you’ll need a system for tracking them. A customer complaint might be the result of your marketing copy leading them to believe something incorrect about your product/service — or of your user experience setting customers up for failure.

Despite the remarkable advancements made across customer support tools, the reason why many still prefer phone support is because of the human element. It gives customers a chance to explain their grievances with more clarity, and customer support agents to solve them, with more empathy and patience. When your business experiences a crisis or an outage, your customer support teams end up being put under a lot of pressure. It’s these teams that have to bear the brunt of customer frustration and anger in such difficult times. Time and again, your customer support team will encounter issues that are complex in nature and those they may not have ideal solutions for.

That means you can potentially lose a third of your customer base just because you didn’t pick up the phone fast enough. Sign up to our newsletter to receive original content in your inbox, designed to help you improve your customer service processes and turn relationships into revenue. If you respond to messages online, it can be seen as though you are making an effort and that you do care. So, don’t be afraid to escalate reoccurring complaints to top management in order to get them resolved quickly. The next time you receive a complaint, use the following 5 step check list in order to respond, resolve and keep your customer happy.

Also, build a culture that clearly demonstrates that you care for your employees and encourages them to be active participants in business success. Consider an employee recognition program that rewards customer service reps for their good work, improving key performance indicators (KPIs), or going above and beyond to resolve customers’ issues. Following up on a customer complaint can be a great way to engage with your audience and show that you care.

Customer service is a critical factor in ensuring buyer satisfaction, retaining customers, and growing a business. Our comprehensive customer service software helps you scale your offerings, stay flexible through change, and create meaningful connections with your customers. With features ranging from ticket routing to performance reporting and everything in between, Zendesk can help you offer an outstanding CX. Exceeding customer expectations means keeping pace with customers and providing quick service and speedy first reply times (FRT). That might entail creating an automated response notifying the customer you received their query and are working on their problem.

Identifying different touchpoints in your customers’ journey can help you plan opportunities for proactive customer service. For example, if a majority of customer interactions occur at the time of onboarding, try to identify ways to make the onboarding process as smooth as possible. Identify possible weak spots that may result in issues and correct them before they escalate. Amidst the daily grind of managing a business, it can become difficult to keep a tab on the performance of your customer service agents and the quality of service provided by them. The next important thing is to invest in periodic training programs for both new as well as existing employees.

Companies must remember that great customer support and service, and eventually, customer success is a constant work-in-progress. They require a team that is driven, motivated, and rewarded for their efforts. Most importantly, they require time — the rewards will come slowly but surely. Customer surveys can offer very valuable and actionable insights into customer experience as well as the quality of your customer support and service. Instead of asking your customers to get in touch with other teams, do that work for them instead.

By providing excellent customer service, you can retain current customers, win over new customers, and build a stellar reputation for your brand. Effectively dealing with complaints is part of building customer relationships and establishing yourself as a customer-centric company. Following up with customer complaints will help you stand out from the competition by demonstrating excellent customer service. In this post, we go into more detail about the importance of dealing with dissatisfied customers and negative comments and explain how to handle customer complaints in a way that leaves all parties satisfied. Explore how incorporating hypercare in your customer service efforts can create seamless customer experiences and lead to greater satisfaction.

They can also publicly submit complaints via social media reviews, community forums, or online review sites. This one isn’t necessarily a complaint but is something that customer service teams encounter on a daily basis. If your product or service doesn’t meet all of your customers’ needs, they’ll ask if they can propose a new product or feature. While some of these are helpful, most fulfill specific use-cases that don’t apply to the bulk of your customer base. No matter which industry you’re in, you’re going to deal with customer complaints.

customer queries

But when Ian Hunt, director of customer services at Liberty, first came aboard, the company ran its operations using outdated methods like shared email inboxes. Hunt knew the company needed a modern customer service solution that allowed it to provide great service befitting a luxury brand, so the team turned to Zendesk. To keep up with customer needs, support teams need analytics software that gives them instant access to customer insights across channels in one place. This enables them to be agile because they can go beyond capturing data and focus on understanding and reacting to it. According to the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2024, 70 percent of CX leaders plan to integrate generative AI into many customer touchpoints within the next two years. Additionally, 3 in 4 customers who have experienced generative AI say the technology will change the way they interact with companies in the near future.


You can analyze customer complaints by logging them into an internal database and developing internal processes to review and learn from them. This can help your team identify any recurring issues and areas of improvement. Tools like Help Scout’s saved replies can help agents respond to routine requests quickly.

  • Customer support teams must maintain a database of common customer support inquiries so they can anticipate issues frequently faced by customers, and address them even before they arise.
  • In this way, anticipatory support can lower the number of support requests received.
  • You may also want to consider monitoring any satisfaction ratings you receive on the conversation in your customer service software.
  • In terms of training customer service teams, successful companies often invest in comprehensive programs that focus on developing empathy, problem-solving skills, and product knowledge.
  • Start a free trial of Zendesk today to bolster your customer experience and turn your complaints into opportunities for improvement.
  • In this guide, we cover 11 ways to deliver excellent customer service and create an outstanding customer experience (CX).

Since no product or service is perfect, it makes complete sense that customers will have some complaints from time to time. Though there will inevitably be some one-off requests that require research to resolve, many are fairly routine. When handling a constant stream of customer needs daily, it can be overwhelming trying to formulate a plan to resolve the complaints coming in. When you do have to follow up on a case, customers will often have different expectations for follow-up communication. Some customers will expect an ongoing chain of updates while others will be more patient. If your reps aren’t consistently clear about response times, your customers may think you’ve forgotten about their case.

Even if your business doesn’t make a mistake, one of your customers will eventually hit a roadblock that leads them to your customer service team. These are the situations where your service reps make or break the customer’s journey. This might include follow-up surveys with customers who have lodged complaints previously, to gauge their satisfaction with the resolution process and any changes made as a result.

Although meeting customer expectations is important for any brand, it’s a particularly important part of the job for customer service reps at an online company. Customer calls may be the only person-to-person interactions the company has with its customers. Therefore, it’s critical to have a team skilled enough to deliver excellent customer experiences and expertly address customer complaint resolution. An issue managed to the customer’s satisfaction can make the difference between customer retention and churn. Every customer relationship salvaged means continued revenues and growing customer lifetime value (CLTV), metrics that are vital to your business’s financial position. Regularly hold service-oriented workshops to prepare your team to provide excellent issue resolution and customer experiences.

In the meantime, your reps should apologize for the long wait times and work to ensure first call resolution. 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. In terms of training customer service teams, successful companies often invest in comprehensive programs that focus on developing empathy, problem-solving skills, and product knowledge. Let’s look at 7 specific strategies that help to improve a customer’s experience.

Customer success is a business function aimed at helping customers achieve their goals sustainably. This function ensures that all of the interactions customers have with your brand holistically contribute to their organization’s overall growth and success. One of the most important customer support trends for the future is the efficient collection, analysis, and application of customer data. The customer may be angry or pleasant, have a simple or complex issue, or maybe ask a question the representative has never had to answer before. Agents who take it all in stride and handle each call with confidence and expertise are an asset to your company.

Follow up with your customers to make sure they are satisfied with the solution. This can be in the form of a follow up email or survey asking for feedback on how the complaint was handled. This statistic underscores the precarious nature of customer loyalty and the critical importance of addressing complaints swiftly and effectively. Furthermore, research finds that customers’ whose complaints are handled quickly can often turn into loyal customers and even brand advocates. The estimated total pay for as of 2023 is $42,135 per year, with an average salary of $39,599. Use intelligent routing to streamline issue resolution and connect customers with the most qualified agent to solve their problems.

The more you know about the customer, the better you’ll be able to personalize the resolution, too. Effectively handling customer complaints is paramount to maintaining a positive CX. From prevention to resolution, here are some ways you can address complaints successfully. We sincerely appreciate your feedback and apologize that the interaction didn’t go as hoped. We take pride in offering great service and take it seriously when we don’t meet expectations.

Now, it’s your chance to go one step further and exceed customer expectations, whether this is to send a hand-written thank you note or to give the customer early access to your new product features. Maybe there’s something wrong with your product when customers use their mobile device, or there could be something missing from customer service replies. Many customers are simply looking for an apology and acknowledgement of their complaint, yet so many businesses are hesitant to admit when a mistake has been made. They have complained for a reason and it is important to understand why they are complaining. Research shows that customers care more about quality than a fast response. Luxury skincare retailer, Aesop, gained a cult following for offering deeply personal experiences—and yes, those amazing free samples—in its physical stores.

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If it’s a personnel issue, then you can assure them about following up or you can escalate to a manager. If it’s a policy issue, you could do your best to offer some more insight into why a certain policy is in place. Most people reaching out with a time-based complaint are looking to be heard as well as reassured. Owning delays can also go a long way in letting the customer know you hear and empathize with them. Make it easy to solve issues by providing self-service options and being easy to connect with across channels.

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You can be proactive about customer complaints by learning from customer feedback and implementing changes that improve the customer experience. Once you’ve taken the time to understand your customer completely, propose a solution that directly addresses their concerns and aligns with their expectations. This can involve sending a replacement product, offering a refund, or apologizing when you can’t deliver what they hoped.

The key to overcoming these common issues is by creating a clear process and a coordinated response that addresses the customer’s complaints. These are the top 5 tips which can help a company to make their customer service experience better and provide value to them. Since technology has become affordable and no longer acts as a competitive advantage, the quality of customer service plays an important role to determine the presence in the market.

It’s also important to communicate the expected timeline for resolution, the steps you’ll take, and anything else the customer needs to know. This transparency manages expectations and reduces further concerns or misunderstandings. According to our CX Trends Report, 3 in 4 individuals say a poor interaction with a business can ruin their day.

Queries received across other channels can further be routed back to your email to minimize confusion. Once you’ve collected customer feedback, it’s ineffective unless you act on it. Implementing customer feedback, in addition to benefiting your business, will also give customers the assurance that you value their word. Great customer success managers continuously work towards helping customers achieve their business goals. Consequently, they help build a community of committed and loyal brand ambassadors who in the long run are huge drivers of business growth – through positive word-of-mouth. An example of responsive support includes help offered to a customer experiencing an issue with a particular feature or tool after they reach out to your support team via email or call.

customer queries

With these types of complaints, it’s good to offer solutions or workarounds when available. You could even point them in the direction of another provider if it’s simply something you don’t offer, which can help build credibility with the customer. The biggest bucket of complaints you’ll get are ones tied directly to your products and services. These requests could be about things like a product lacking a certain function, feature or service requests, bug reports, and other things in that realm. For example, if customers report long call wait times, it could be that they are calling during peak times of the day when your service team is swamped with higher than normal call volumes.

This can be achieved by tracking your brand mentions across different social channels, and looking out for specific keywords, phrases and comments. Without understanding customers’ experiences and expectations, you won’t know how to serve them. Even when there may be an instance of inferior experience on the customer support side, high-quality customer service can compensate for it. In the absence of great customer service, it can get difficult for brands to build a long-term relationship of trust and satisfaction with customers.

customer queries

You can promote this understanding by teaching your support agents to master reflective listening. Today’s consumers can access your business from your website, social media pages, email, and more. Providing an omnichannel experience—one that fosters smooth, consistent communication across channels—is key to creating a positive CX.

Courteous and empathetic interaction with a trained customer service representative can mean the difference between losing or retaining a customer. Once again, the focus has been on packaging how-to content and related resources that are designed for self-service. Increasingly sophisticated data analytics also are being used to identify dissatisfied or low-engagement customers. But, as always, the most effective customer service needs to incorporate human contact, if only as a last resort. Additionally, Virgin prioritized improving its self-help resources and external FAQs. Before the support site upgrade, the company was tracking about 90,000 FAQ views monthly, and now, members are viewing 275,000 self-help articles per month.

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. These are typically consistent with feedback from multiple customers or align with the company’s strategic goals for enhancing customer satisfaction.

Since partnering with Zendesk, Liberty has delivered good customer service in every interaction. It offers customer support through phone, chat, email, and WhatsApp to meet customers on their preferred channels. Data-driven analytics are an indirect but pivotal source of information that can help you fine-tune your customer service strategy.

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