How to Handle Customer Complaints

If you work in customer service, particularly in a call center, you’ve probably dealt with customer complaints before. And if you haven’t yet, don’t worry, your turn will come.

Customer complaints range from mildly annoyed to enraged. You must know how to deal with each one effectively to resolve the situation, make the customer happy, and leave them with a positive impression of the company you represent.

In this article, we will look at how you can handle customer complaints to achieve the goals mentioned above so that both you and the customer are satisfied with the outcome.

Steps to Handling Customer Complaints

When you have a dissatisfied or angry customer, it’s easy to lose your cool, which only makes matters worse. However, if you keep these tips in mind, you can make the interaction go more smoothly.

  • Stay Calm If you have an angry customer, the last thing you want to do is aggravate the situation by becoming enraged yourself. This is easier said than done because the customer usually yells at you or says hurtful things to you. But, in reality, they’re upset with the company, not you, and it’s easy to forget that when you’re interacting with them. So, regardless of how upset they are or what they say, maintain a calm demeanor. When they see you reacting calmly, they often do as well. If they’re verbally abusive or threatening violence, you should politely tell them that their behavior isn’t justified and that you’ll have to end the call if they don’t calm down.
  •  Listen & Empathize To reduce a person’s level of frustration, you must first listen to their problem and empathize with it. Often, a person is at their wit’s end and believes that no one is listening to them about their problem. So, validate their complaint and tell them they have a right to be upset about the poor service, broken item. You can even tell them an anecdote about something that went wrong with a service or product you ordered to express how you feel. This goes a long way toward reducing tension and allowing you to solve their problem more quickly.
  • Acknowledge the problem The worst thing you can do is pretend the customer’s problem doesn’t exist or that it’s their fault in some way (even if it is). So, whatever their issue is, treat it the same way you’d want to be treated if the roles were reversed. Also, don’t make excuses — they don’t want to hear them; instead, accept the problem and apologize.
  • Get the Facts You can’t help the customer unless you have all of the information, so ask them to tell you everything that’s wrong and how they believe it got to that point. The more information you have, the better the solution you can find or, at the very least, direct them to the appropriate department that can solve their specific issue.
  • Offer a Solution Don’t abandon the customer without providing a solution to their problem. Remember, they’re calling because they need assistance, and if you turn them away without guiding them, you’ve lost a customer, and they’ll be sure to tell everyone about it. If you don’t know the answer, tell them you’ll get it or refer them to someone who does. If you cannot obtain a solution right away, offer to call back once you have an idea that will assist them. If you can’t give them an immediate answer, offer them something to make up for their inconvenience. This could be a free month of service, a voucher, or some other type of token to alleviate the situation. Finally, don’t offer a non-working solution to get them off the phone or tell them what they want to hear because they’ll call back with the same problem.
  • Thank Them. Whether or not you were able to solve their problem during the call, it’s critical that you thank them for bringing it to your attention and that they understand how much you value their input. Many people believe that large corporations don’t care about them or their problems with a product or service, so you must do everything you can to make them feel like they’re contributing to resolving an issue or alerting the company’s concern.


What to do When the Customer is Angry?

When a customer calls, they may be angry to the point of yelling or using foul language. When this occurs, it is difficult to see past their hostility to the underlying issue.

As previously stated, one of the best ways to defuse an angry caller is to be as kind and respectful as possible while acknowledging their problem. Don’t blame them, even if it is their fault, and don’t make excuses.

Also, some customers are more difficult to calm down than others, so when you encounter difficult situations, explain that you can’t help them unless you can have a respectful conversation about the problem. Recognize their rage, but try to reduce the tension so you can resolve the issue more effectively. Most people are fine after they’ve vented their frustrations; however, if you get someone who won’t settle down, becomes abusive, or threatens violence, explain that you won’t be able to continue the conversation unless they do.

Dealing with angry and upset callers is a part of the customer service industry, so it’s a good idea to practice the techniques discussed above to stay calm and talk someone down from their rage and into a productive conversation to get them the assistance they require. Remember that most people want help and have their problem acknowledged, and if you can provide that, you’ll be well on your way to defusing a bad situation and keeping a customer happy.