We all know that handling customers who complain is complicated. On the one hand, there is the usual business of handling, mitigating and resolving complaints. On the other hand, being a nanny for a couple of clients who constantly suck the time and enthusiasm of your support team, means you have fewer resources for those who can really make a difference in your business.
And for all its splendor, social networks have not been a good friend when they face these customers. A bad comment from an angry customer can accumulate in a public relations disaster. With a traditional mindset of customer service, you’ll be stuck between trying to appease all the complaints, and leaving aside those that really matter. To be able to effectively handle customer complaints, your customer service needs to be proactive.
The positive side of customers who complain is the opportunity they offer to turn it around and fix things. Instead of becoming defensive, what can the customer complain about in their support process? How can you make your team proactive and serve every complaint, without losing its mojo?
Here we share some simple tips that will help you handle even the worst of them –
1. Listen, before you jump
I know, how many times have you heard that? However, it is a kind of key. 96% of customers with complaints do not care about the numbers and statistics they get out of them – they only have one problem and need to be heard. In addition to giving them time to tell you their version of the facts give them a better idea of what the problem is really, rather than jumping with the wrong answer.
2. Ask the right questions
Nothing can be more annoying than listening to a scripted voice at the other end. Asking the right questions means you can help your client to a faster solution. The scripts work very well to train your team, so you must write one, print it, and then burn it. Nobody wants to talk to a human agent who can not pass the Turing test!
3. Have empathy, attention and show
In the previous point comes the doubt, do you really care or act as if you care? Customers with complaints develop a sixth sense to sniff out the false concern of their agent. Of course, having too emotionally connected agents and filling your call center with tears is not ideal. But that’s definitely better than having a robot that just does not care.
4. Do not get defensive
A customer who complains needs ventilation. And as the front-line face of the organization, your support agent is going to scream quite frequently. But getting defensive and blaming the customer never helps. Customer service expert Rebecca Morgan suggests incorporating an inanimate object (such as a bad instruction manual) such as the boxing bag to take the blame. Personally, I think if you hear the sound of ripping paper at the other end it is because you have made some progress. The point is, make sure your support representatives do not get defensive – in most cases, a chivalrous “sorry” can take quite a bit of heat off the table.
5. Unearth the Solution
At the end of the day, customers still have a problem that needs a solution. Understandably, their agents do not have it on hand more often. That is exactly why a process should be created to ensure that no complaints fall into the gaps. Mark each complaint, making sure you get the right agent within the team, and providing the solution you promised can go a long way in building trust with your clients. And once you reach your circle of trust, the customer who complains suddenly becomes a part of your “team.”
6. Take them to the solution
Sometimes there are no clear solutions. No matter what your support representatives do, they can never make your car float by the water or do magic to fix something broken during shipment. But what they can do is make the customer a part of the solution. Ask them what they want.
7. Process, process, process
Managing a customer who complains is about empathy. Handling complaints and earning the customer is always about the process. When we face a very bad conversation with the client, your team should take notes and learnings. Hold weekly meetings to discuss each agent’s concerns and how they handle the complaint.
We are sure that very soon you will have plenty of support agents who will be able to turn any customer who complains into a lifelong partner.