Customer Success

5 Tips To Handle Customer Complaints Like A Boss

Piotr Zolnowski · Updated
Lisen your customers

Handling customer complaints is a crucial element of customer service strategy. Why should you have this part covered?

Because unhappy clients may not just turn their backs on your products or services – they may provide negative feedback to other potential customers and reduce the probability that you’ll ever see them again.

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We don’t want that – follow these simple rules to boost your customer satisfaction to a new level.

an unhappy customer

1. Get all the information – use your empathy and listen

It’s as simple as that – unhappy customer wants to be listened and understood. Remaining calm and patient is a must (sometimes it’s difficult, I know). Try to get as much information as you need to address the problem.

Use live chat to communicate with your customers and address their problems. It’s a quick and easy solution that helps with getting feedback and providing assistance.

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Putting yourself in your customers’ shoes helps a lot! Think – if you were a complaining customer, what would your expectations be? How you’d like to be treated?

Note: One of the best ways to let customers get hold of you is via live chat functionality. If your website is built on WordPress, read our reviews of WordPress chat plugin extensions.

2. Inspect the issue

The first thing to do is to inspect if a customer’s complaint is justified at all. Should it be addressed to you? Are you the one to blame?

If you’re not – politely explain that the responsibility is elsewhere to look to (and point out the direction if you’re able to).

If you’re the one to blame, then look for a solution. It’s best to focus on what you can do instead of what you can’t. Customers more easily accept another way out rather than hitting a wall of “I can’t do that” and no solution at all.

3. Solve and recompense

After solving the issue, be humble, and say you’re sorry.

Even something as simple as admitting that you’re responsible makes a client happy. Say “we made a mistake and we are very sorry” – it really makes a huge difference, and helps a customer to cool off.

When “sorry” is not enough, it’s worth to consider a more valuable compensation. You should be flexible when it comes to this one – check what options you have or ask your customer what solution will satisfy them.

It’s worth making sure that everything has been explained. Remember that a happy customer is a loyal customer that spends money – according to Hubspot, existing customers spend 67% more money than new ones.

statistics says that existing customers pay more compared to new ones

4. Follow up with a customer

Following up after fixing client’s issue is a great customer service practice. Not only you show that you care about this specific customer (making things personal, which is a great thing), but you also get additional feedback about product and proposed solution – that can only make your business better.

Good impression can be achieved by a simple phone call or a personalized email – it’s up to you to choose the right tool (no one knows your business better than you, right?).

5. Learn from your mistakes

Learning can help to avoid customer complaints and improve the quality of your products and customer service. That’s why it’s worth to consider tracking your business issues. Gather all the data in one place (e. g. using JIRA). It’ll make it easier to:

  • track process of solving the issue
  • follow up with a customer
  • analyze whether complaints are repeatable. This will allow you to focus on most common and income killing issues

How to Deal With Angry Customers

Whatever you do, you will not avoid difficult or angry customers. But you can decide how you will respond to them. It’s in your hands.

Here are some tips for coping with an unpleasant situation. Hopefully, they will help you resolve the complaint to everyone’s satisfaction.

1. Don’t take it personally

Always keep in mind that the customer is not angry with you. They are upset with the situation they found themselves in. Keep your ego at bay and focus on the problem. The emotions are just unnecessary distractions.

2. Remain calm 

Whether customers are yelling or being rude, starting to behave the same way will not solve the problem or earn you respect. Quite the contrary. The situation may escalate beyond imagination and end up badly for both of you.

3. Listen

Angry customers are often like children. All they need is to let go of some steam and have someone listen to them. Don’t lose your cool and let the customer take off whatever’s on their chest. When the customer realizes that they’re being listened to and that someone has acknowledged their problem, they’re likely to calm down. 

4. Analyze the problem — together

Start talking about the problem. Make the customer feel like the partner who plays an important part in resolving the case. Break the problem down into smaller pieces to understand better and prove your customer your engagement. This will also help you notice things that might become crucial in finding potential solutions.

5. Offer a solution

When both of you have successfully managed to get to the core of the problem, it’s time to come up with a solution. You can either ask a customer about their expectations or be the one who suggests some reasonable solution to the problem. In the end, that’s the only thing that matters and that’s why the customer contacted you in the first place.

6. Give yourself a time-out, too

You did your best to handle and close the case, but you’re a human, too. So, if you feel that you need a break before you move on to the next customer, have a short break. Relieve the accumulated stress with some treat, switch to another task, or talk to someone who will understand your emotions.

Conclusion: Complaining Customers Are Not That Difficult

No company is perfect. And it’s not really about being perfect, it’s about handling imperfection.

Listen, empathize, solve, follow up and learn – these are the 5 key steps to making your complaining customer satisfied that’ll make your business bigger, stronger and more profitable!

As a bonus – make sure to check the video where Mitchell describes the 5 most common types of complainers and provides tips on handling them.

What are your experiences in dealing with customer complaints?

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Piotr Zolnowski

Piotr is your friendly-neighbourhood Content Marketer. He’s in love with online marketing and e-commerce; besides content production, he’s a big fan of sports (especially martial arts) and laughing out loud.