10 Effective Ways to Respond to Customer Complaints


Jared CornellCustomer Support Specialist

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

If a customer has a positive experience with your brand, everyone is happy - the customer, the employees, and the business move in the right direction. But what happens if you fail to provide a positive customer experience?

Article 5 Minutes
10 Effective Ways to Respond to Customer Complaints

Your customers will complain. And worse? They’ll share this experience with friends, family, and connections, which in turn can lead to a negative brand image and loss of potential business.

To help you rise above this challenge, here are ten tips on how to respond to customer complaints using a customer complaint management system.

1. Be thankful for the feedback

Complaining customers can tell you everything that is wrong with your business- from poor product packaging to inattentive customer service agents.

However, if you look closely, customer complaints are an excellent opportunity to learn. They highlight a problem area, whether related to a product, a team member, the customer support team or the company’s policies and procedures.

Therefore, you should always have a thankful attitude when responding to customer complaints. Their insights give you a roadmap to improve and grow your business.

2. Practice active listening

One of the most pressing customer complaints from the support team is that the agent talked too much and didn’t let the customer finish what they had to share.

The result? An angry and frustrated customer.

Active listening skills are crucial, to deliver a professional and positive support experience to customers.

Active listening helps build trust and enhances the customer’s confidence and self-esteem. It also showcases that the agent has his most profound interest in resolving the customer’s issues.

3. Understand what you have heard

To understand the intent of customer complaints, it’s good to ask pertinent questions. For example, you can say- “If I’ve understood it correctly, you didn’t like that you had to pay an extra $10 as service charges?” Repeating what the customer said, in your own words, allows them to agree, disagree or clarify further.

You can even emphasize specific parts of the problem and encourage the customer to give you more information.

4. Analyze customer complaints

Customers share their personal experiences, and no two experiences are alike. That’s why not all complaints will be the same. Take every customer complaint on an individual basis.

Also, before responding to customer complaints, get answers to a few questions:

  • Has the customer reported this issue before?
  • Was their complaint recorded and responded to?
  • Has anyone else reported the same problem?
  • How frequently does this happen?

5. Adopt a non-judgemental approach

When a customer is upset, their language or tone can get aggressive. Even if the language seems fine, sometimes the complaint itself might seem irrelevant or unreasonable.

The best approach to respond to a customer complaint is not to jump to a conclusion immediately. Stay calm and professional. Get into the customer's shoes. Try to get to the root of the problem.

6. Take necessary action

Complaining customers demand instant solutions. There are specific complaints that are frequent, and it’s very likely that you already know the solution to the issue.

But, if you’re presented with something new that you have never encountered before, the best way to respond is to ask for some time to figure out the best solution.

Much better is to let the customer speak about their expectations from the brand. If what they are asking is doable, go for it.

7. If required, apologize for the inconvenience

“I’m sorry that you had a bad experience with our product/service” - a genuine apology can be all that a customer needs to hear after having a negative experience.

Even if the company isn’t at fault or the product is alright, apologizing can make a considerable difference and help to calm an angry customer.

The gut response of any agent will be to defend themselves and the company and try to counter the customer’s views as wrong and unfair. However, you need to train them to keep an empathetic approach and share sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused.

8. Be clear with how you will solve the customer’s problem

When you’re replying to a complaint, it’s vital to explain what should happen next, outlining how you’ll improve the situation.

If a customer is unhappy with the product or service, tell them how you plan to compensate for their monetary loss. Give them as much information as possible and reassure them that the necessary steps are being taken.

9. Implement customer feedback

Now that you’ve collected customer feedback and promised to make amends, it's time you act on it.

If the complaint is commonplace and you get it more often, implementing changes is essential. It can save your business from further embarrassment and drastically improve your customers’ satisfaction levels.

10. Follow-up with the customer

Following-up on customer complaints is crucial to improve their overall experience with your organization. You can call your customers or email them, asking if the complaint has been resolved to their satisfaction.

You can also share a follow-up survey with them to gauge their happiness and get further feedback. This will give the impression that your business takes complaints seriously and values customer feedback.

The customer is the prize: make sure you keep it

Responding to a customer complaint is never easy. A small error can aggravate the situation and things can spiral out of control. In short, the way you handle a complaint can be the difference between retaining a customer or losing one.

Make sure you handle every customer complaint with patience, active listening and empathy. Regularly update them on the necessary steps being taken by your business and share follow-up surveys.

These steps will help you ensure customers have a delightful journey with your brand.

Jared Cornell

Jared is a customer-support specialist, a marketing evangelist and a book lover, associated with ProProfs Help Desk. Jared is passionate about customer support and loves to solve customers’ queries. He is always keen to develop new strategies to help customers seeking Help Desk assistance for a delightful experience. 


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