Handling a Customer Complaint on the Telephone
Why Are Customer Complaints Good For Business?
Customer complaints are feedback from customers that points out issues with your products or services. These complaints can be used by your company to improve its internal processes, and provide a better customer experience.
Customers complaining are often an indication that something is not right. Sometimes, customers have unreasonable expectations and incorrect assumptions. Sometimes, the disconnect is caused by a company’s mistakes.
Your marketing copy may have led customers to believe that your product/service is not as advertised or that your customer experience sets them up for failure. It could also be a result of a problem outside your control (e.g. third-party shipping problems).
To find out, you must listen to customer complaints. These are some tips that you can immediately implement.
How To Handle A Complaint On The Phone
1. Listen and understand
Listen to your customer first. You are likely to be concerned about a particular aspect of their services. Don’t be tempted to quickly respond. Listen to what they are saying and take the time to understand their concerns.
Within a matter of seconds, you can usually tell if someone is upset. Instead of trying to calm the situation by talking them down, you should listen to the whole story and take notes as they explain. You will be able to listen more effectively and quickly to your caller by remaining neutral and non-judgmental. People are often just looking to be heard and can sometimes manifest in ugly ways. Don’t take what they have to say as personal.
If a caller is unhappy, they should apologise and let you know that they are moving forward. If their anger escalates into using violence or vulgar language, you can refer to your company policy on how to proceed. You should immediately end the call if the guidelines say so. Also, be sure to document exactly what they said and the details of their complaint.
After listening to the customer’s concerns, empathise immediately with their situation to establish a relationship between you and them. This will let them know that you are going to work together to solve the problem.
Repeat the customer’s main points and concerns to them, and apologise for any inconvenience caused. The customer will feel heard and understood, not only will they be able to calm down but also the breather will allow them to relax. You can also repeat it back to ensure you understand the complaint.
3. Offer a solution
Find a solution for their problem. Focus on what you can do, not what you cannot. There’s always a solution. Although it may not be what they want, if you are focused on what you can do instead of denying them the remedy they need, you will still have a solution. Sometimes just having another option is enough to fix the problem.
Talk in an even tone and don’t engage in the ugliness that is coming at you. It will only make the situation worse. There is an easy and effective way to “distancing” yourself from anger that is being projected into your face.
Take a deep, slow breath and smile inwardly. Take a deep breath and smile outwardly, feeling compassion for the customer in distress. Try to imagine yourself as the customer in distress. By doing this you will find new ways of looking at a solution.
4. Solve the Problem
You can solve their problem, whether they originally asked for it or you propose an alternate solution.
Your ultimate goal is to make the call as pleasant as possible and leave the customer feeling satisfied. As per your company policy, you can offer them a voucher or a refund. To help them feel that they are in control, offer them two to three possible resolutions.
After you’ve completed the four initial steps, be sure to follow up with your client to ensure that they are happy with the solution.
Although it might not be something you want to do after working out a solution, following up with an angry customer is a great way to show your gratitude. It shows that you care and that your customer is important to you.
You should apologise once more and ensure that you have taken care of all their needs. If the customer is satisfied, they are more likely to return to you for their services again. They will also tell friends and family about your excellent customer service.
Customers will be happy if you respond quickly to their complaints. This also prevents lawsuits, investigations, and negative publicity.
Customers want to feel that someone listens and understands them. They also hope you will resolve the issue to their satisfaction. Whatever the circumstance, customers should be grateful that you brought a complaint to your attention. It is a common saying that “We can’t fix what’s broken if we don’t know what’s wrong.” We also need to realise that customer complaints can prove costly for the business if left unfixed.
Communication skills that are effective over the phone can lead to more productive relationships, which in turn will result in better customer service and possibly increased sales. When dealing with clients via phone, be positive and do your best to please them. Be kind and compassionate with clients when needed. Customers will notice when you treat them with kindness, consideration, and care. This will result in repeat business.
Learn more about the skills and dealing with customer complaints by asking our team to create and tailor a session to suit your team.