How to Handle Customer Complaints

All businesses get complaints.  A customer complaint is NOT a bad thing.  This is an opportunity to put something right and prevent them from going to a competitor.  Most people will not complain.  They will just go elsewhere so, take this as positive.

According to the 2017 State of Global Customer Service Report – in the UK, only 13% of customers said it took very little effort to have their complaints resolved.

10 steps to handling customer complaints

Listen  Do you understand the real reason for their complaint?  Do not interrupt – let them speak until they have finished.  Make notes as you listen so you can refer back to them – it shows you were listening.  This prevents you from asking silly questions about facts they have just spent 5 minutes telling you about.

Acknowledge the problem by paraphrasing what you have heard – this helps to make sure you are on the right path and that you have understood exactly what the problem is.

Apologise that they are experiencing a problem and reassure them that you will do all that you can to resolve the issue for them.

Ask relevant questions to make sure you have fully understood.  Gather the necessary data and information so you and your Customer Service team can investigate what went wrong so that the error cannot be repeated.

Make sure you are following your Customer Complaints Policy…you do have a Customer Complaints Policy – right?  This helps to ensure all complaints are investigated fairly.

Investigate what and why things went wrong  Offer the customer a solution.  Make sure that they are happy with this.  Take ownership of their complaint to ensure that what you say will happen…happens!

Thank them for taking the time to get in touch and discuss their issues with you.  Tell them this helps you to make sure the same doesn’t happen to anyone else, that you value what they are saying and appreciate them getting in touch.

It may be necessary to follow up with the customer to ensure that they were happy with the solution and to make sure that no other errors occurred with the arranged solution.

Keep a Log of all complaints so that your Customer Service Team can access them when they need to.  This will make sure that if the customer gets in touch again – they do not have to repeat themselves.  Who hates to repeat themselves?   Me, you, them, EVERYONE!

Review your complaints and evaluate your systems.  Can things be improved? Does your team need additional training?  Do you have the right products/Services? Complaints are fantastic opportunities to learn where your business needs improving.  Take advantage and learn from them!


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