How to Handle Complaints Without Losing Customers

Sharon Boyd has nearly 25 years of experience between both the healthcare and marketing industries. In addition to being an RDH and content writing expert, she also holds a degree in business. Her responsibilities primarily include tackling the communication barriers between small business owners or healthcare providers and their prospective clientele.

How to Handle Complaints Without Losing Customers

Whether you work in a corporate call center or a small business, every time the phone rings, there is a potential for an angry customer. Before you pick up the phone, you don’t know whether the person on the other end will have a normal conversation or begin yelling at you before you finish your greeting.

Every business that has a client base also has customers with complaints. How you handle those complaints says a lot about how you operate and how much you care about the people who support you.

A good customer care team will be able to handle complaints, soothing the most recalcitrant client and smoothing over human error. The best customer service representative or manager can make the angry caller or upset live customer into a repeat, satisfied customer. Here are four ways to increase your customer service acuity and keep your clients

  1. Listen Well: The saying goes that you have two ears and one mouth, so use them proportionately: listen more than you talk. Make sure that when you listen you are trying to understand their complaint and what’s going on surrounding the complaint; sometimes, the customer simply needs to vent their frustration. Take notes so that you don’t get distracted formulating a response in your head.
  2. Empathize: You may be the one receiving the complaint now, but you’ve been on the other side, dissatisfied with a product or service. Draw on that memory and put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Remain calm, and don’t take what they are saying personally; chances are their frustrations were not your fault.
  3. Ask Questions: Find out everything you can about your customer’s experience. What did they purchase? What did they THINK they purchased? How did they think they should have been treated? Ask the MOST IMPORTANT Question: How can we make this right? Not every disgruntled customer knows the answer to this question immediately. Even for those customers that do have a resolution in mind you may not be able to accommodate them exactly as they desire. However, knowing what they want gives you a good point to start solving the problem.
  4. Follow Through: Now that your customer feels heard, and you know what they want, you can begin to formulate a conclusion that will be satisfactory to both parties. If you have the authority to resolve the situation, do so. However, often the person taking the complaint doesn’t have the license to extend an offer of settlement. In this case, explain that you need to get management approval for any proposal. Once you pass the information to your management team, follow up with them and then follow up with the customer until the situation has concluded.

These steps may require some practice. Take some time and role play these types of conversations with your team to make sure everyone is on the same page to provide excellent service across the board. When you’re able to solve problems and give resolution, customers will return to you even after a negative experience.