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Handling Complaints: The Key to CX Success 

No matter how much time and effort you put into building the perfect customer service strategy, customers are unlikely to be perfectly happy, all the time! That’s why handling complaints correctly is so important, to limit any negative experiences.  

Recently, a report from the BBC showed just how important this is, drawing attention to the increasing number of complaints faced by broadband and telecom companies in the UK.  

What’s interesting about this report is that while many organisations in the market offer similar services, the level of satisfaction among their customers differs drastically.  

Ultimately, companies can’t avoid receiving complaints but can take the right approach to dealing with them.  

The Value of Effective Complaint Management 

Customers complain about a range of reasons, and those complaints are often more valuable than you’d think. Reports tell us that only a handful of customers actually complain to a company directly; the rest (91%) leave and buy what they need from a different company.  

This means a complaint is an opportunity for you to prevent your customer from abandoning your brand. Studies show that 83% of customers feel more loyal towards brands that actively respond to and resolve their complaints. 

Complaints are also a chance for you to spot problems that might cause other customers to churn before they have a massive impact on your retention rates.  

Even complaints about things beyond your control can be helpful. If you notice that customers regularly complain about service outages and issues, proactively contacting them when there’s a problem with the service could reduce their frustration.  

How to Handle Customer Complaints Correctly: Top Tips 

Dealing with a complaint quickly, effectively, and empathetically can be an excellent way to turn an unhappy customer into a valuable advocate for your brand. One report from the Harvard Business Review found that customers who have their complaints handled in five minutes or less often spend more time with a company in the future.  

So, how do you master complaint management? 

Step 1: Listen and Empathise 

Listening is the key to resolving complaints correctly. It’s easy to get defensive when speaking to a frustrated customer, but they’ve contacted your company for a reason. It’s your job to get to the bottom of the problem with empathy.   

Train your agents to use active listening practices like open-ended questioning to ensure they understand the root cause of the customer’s problems. Collecting details about a customer’s order history, details, previous complaints, and issues will make it easier to resolve customer issues quickly. Plus, it ensures that if, for any reason, an agent needs to transfer a call to someone else, the customer won’t have to repeat themselves and start from scratch—a very frustrating practice that’s all too common.  

Of course, only if you are in the wrong, but sometimes, all your customer really wants is for someone to apologise and acknowledge their frustration.  

Studies have shown that customers are more willing to forgive and keep buying from a company that apologises for its mistakes. However, don’t just stop with an apology; thank the customer for bringing the issue to your attention. Then, if possible, it’s time to solve the problem… 

Step 2: Find a Solution 

Some complaints are easy to resolve. If a customer is unhappy with the quality of a product they’ve bought, you can offer them a refund or replacement. Other issues are a little more complex. For instance, a service outage can’t always be resolved quickly. Have clear guidelines available for the team so they know how to handle the issue, clear lines of escalation, and empowerment to make judgment calls to resolve issues to the customer’s satisfaction.  

Step 3: Record Their Feedback  

As mentioned above, complaints are more valuable than they seem. They can offer incredible insights into ways your company can improve and evolve. The only way to detect opportunities for growth is to record your customer’s feedback and look for patterns.  

Examine any complaints you have received and brainstorm ways to prevent the same issue from happening again. Detailed data dashboards can be key to help quickly analyse and action such insight. 

Step 4: Be Proactive  

Complaints might disappear when you solve a customer’s problem, but the frustration they feel towards your company can linger. The best way to repair the relationship is to follow up. Send an email or SMS asking for feedback on how the complaint was handled and if you can do anything else to aid them. Maybe offer a further discount or promotion or flag their account to prioritise care should the issue re-arise. Is it something you are looking to fix on your transformation roadmap, why not keep your customers updated?  

Optimising the Complaint Management Process 

Complaints are important. They offer feedback on your product and service and give you a second chance to retain and develop a loyal customer. However, handling complaints well and consistently can be challenging.   

At DDC OS, we offer a solution. We can provide access to an outsourced complaints service team, expanding your capacity or handling complaints management as a whole, ensuring you can respond quickly and compliantly to customers when complaints arise.  

With a little extra help, you can turn complaints from a daunting prospect into something that helps your company grow.  
 
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