Complaints are hard to hear, and we fully understand why it may be difficult to not take them personally. It’s important to see complaints as a chance to do better as a business, build trust with your customers and show how much you value them/ their feedback. With peak period just around the corner, customer complaints may be a little more ‘difficult’ than usual, so here are some handy tips to remember when handling customer complaints.
Don’t take it personally:
Easier said than done, we know. Regardless, it’s important to remember that the customer is just frustrated at that moment and needs to vent. You know yourself that more often than not you’re not the route cause of the mishap, and it’s just the situation that the customer is mad about. Allowing this space also ensures that you and your agents keep a level head throughout the exchange, and can take the next steps to resolving the issue.
That’s not to say you should have to listen to someone verbally abuse you over the phone, and if a customer is getting too personal or aggressive, you have every right to terminate the call and notify your team leaders/ managers.
Apologise & sympathise:
Yes we know we said you shouldn’t take it personally, but this tip is non-negotiable. Sometimes all a customer wants is an apology and it’s integral in providing an empathetic response. Putting yourself in their shoes is a great way to ensure the customer’s feelings are being heard and understood. “I understand”, “I’m sorry this has happened”, “I can see why you feel this way” all show you’re not just brushing off their complaint and jumping straight into the resolution.
Listen and gather info on what has happened:
Ensuring that the customer’s complaint has actually been noted and relayed in full allows you to see exactly what has gone wrong, and what to avoid/ do better next time. Take the extra time to fully understand the situation and you’ll not only be able to help resolve it thoroughly, but you can spot any trends that may be forming.
Try not to pass them onto someone else:
We’ve all been there: you have an angry customer on the phone who immediately demands to speak to a manager. It can be hard to refuse this initially but proving to your customers that your agents are fully capable of helping them with the issue at hand will put their minds at ease to trust your business going forward. Immediately agreeing to pass over to a manager is rarely a good idea as they’re usually busy and this will potentially result in a more irate customer as they’ll be kept waiting for longer than they’d like.
So do your best, listen, take notes and see what you can do to help them there and then. More often than not you’ll find it is something relatively easy to resolve, but of course use your team leaders/ managers if you deem it to be appropriate.
Find a solution that’s right for them:
Some customers will simply want their issue resolving and nothing more, some may be a little more upset and want more compensation. It really depends on person to person, so being flexible with how you handle complaints really is key to ensuring customer satisfaction. Try to match their tone and put yourself in their shoes. For example, a simple issue with updating a message on a gift may not need as much aftercare as someone who received a poor item for a birthday/ big event.
Going the extra mile for those customers who are really upset/ just those you feel deserve it will prove you truly care about them in the long-run and they’ll always come back to your business.
Don't worry too much:
Handling customer complaints needn’t be that big of a deal for you and your agents, and hopefully these tips are some helpful reminders for you during this busier period. For some more tips on ‘going the extra mile’ have a read of our ‘Why the Human Touch is so Important to Customer Service’.
Struggling to keep up with the demand of providing excellent customer service as a growing business? Finding it hard to navigate through peak without hiring someone full time? Consider talking to Mint Live for a no obligation quote and see how we can help your business.