Essential Skills to Improve Customer Complaint Responses

Understanding Customer Service Complaints & Appropriate Responses

Zight | June 18, 2019 | 7 min read time

Article Last Updated: June 28, 2023

Essential Skills to Improve Customer Complaint Responses

Has your company been getting negative feedback from consumers recently? How have you handled those responses? Not every customer will have a positive experience with your business and that’s OK.

It helps to understand common complaints and have a plan for addressing those issues. Try to put yourself in the shoes of the customer when drafting each response, as it will help customers have more trust in your business.

Here are some of the most common complaints customers have:
  1. “I’d like a refund” – If your customers don’t feel as though they’re getting the deal they had hoped for, they may want a refund.

While it may seem frustrating to grant refunds, try to take a minute and think of the situation from his or her point of view. Would you expect a refund? Would you think better of the company if you were refunded your money? Think about situations on a case-by-case basis.

  1. “I want a new feature” – Sometimes customers expect a feature your company may not even offer. These customers likely care about the product you offer, which is why they’re offering suggestions. If customers inquire about an existing feature, send over the information on that. If you’re not going to build the product they’re asking about, be honest. It’s better to set the right expectations to customers don’t continue to wait for a new product release, for example.
  2. “There’s an issue with the product” – Companies should take responsibility if a product is released that has a bug in it. Be honest and apologize. Do what you can to make it right with your consumers to keep them happy. Another good idea might be to offer a video consult with a support team member to understand how to use the product.
  3. Billing Issue – Your company should have a designated person or team or people to handle billing issues. If you’re getting multiple complaints, perhaps efforts could be made to make the process easier for all consumers.
  4. Frustration for Numerous Transfers – You may have experienced this as a customer before, and it can be very frustrating. You simply want to speak with someone who can help get your issue/question resolved. Try to limit transfers within your company. If one is necessary, make sure team members are making notes and explaining what’s been said so far, so the customer doesn’t have to repeat his or herself.

  1. “I have been waiting FOREVER” – Did he/she wait a long time because you were busy or because a process within your company wasn’t running smoothly? Efforts should be made to help reduce the wait time. Make sure the customer knows his/her voice is being heard and you’re sorry for the time he/she had to wait. Was it simply within your average wait time? If so, you might consider hiring additional customer service representatives.
  2. “Your support staff was rude” – While rudeness could be perceived by the customer even when that wasn’t the intent, the issue might need to be escalated to a supervisor for assistance. Upon escalation, the manager can then review the conversation to see if action must be taken with either side.
  3. “It’s too difficult to contact your company” – No one likes inaccessibility when trying to get an issue resolved or opinion heard. Make sure the contact information is clear on your website and customers can easily get in contact with you.Also, ensure there’s always someone with decision-making power available in case escalation is necessary.
  4. “There was a mistake in your response” – If you made an error in your response and a customer calls you out, own it. Don’t pretend as though you meant something else, as you could lose the trust of that customer. Acknowledge the issue, apologize, provide accurate information, and thank them for reaching out.

Did you know these complaints can be useful for business?

Customers today have more power than ever before and will often share both positive and negative experiences they’ve had with brands with their friends and family.

According to SuperOffice, only 1 in 25 unhappy customers will complain directly to your company.

It’s important to take these complaints and use them to make improvements in how your business is run and how customers are treated so you can provide more positive experiences.
Research also shows that customers often turn into loyal customers when issues are resolved in a timely manner. A study conducted by Harvard Business Review found that consumers who have a complaint addressed in under five minutes will spend more on future purchases.

Complaints by customers could prove profitable for your business.

When Responding to Customer Complaints:

  1. Listen – Remember to always listen to customer feedback and understand the issue at hand. According to American Express, customers are willing to spend more with a company that addresses concerns in a comprehensive manner rather than just as quickly as possible.
  2. Develop Empathy – While your company might choose to have template responses for common complaints, it’s still important to remain empathetic and create custom responses based on each unique situation.
  3. Say ‘no’ Nicely – Sometimes customers will ask for discounts or better deals on products, so don’t be afraid to say no if these don’t align with how you conduct business. It’s tough to say no, but it’s important to ensure all consumers are on a level playing field.Be compassionate in your response and let the consumer know that you understand his/her concerns.
  4. Apologize – Companies are often afraid to admit fault and apologize. Don’t be. A study by The Nottingham School of Economics shows that 45% of customers withdrew negative opinions of a company in light of an apology, while only 23% of customers withdrew their negative assessments because of compensation.

How to Handle an Unhappy Customer Email:

An issue with product use –

Do you have a customer who needs his/her handheld when using a product? Start by assessing the urgency of the situation and determining if this needs immediate attention. Perhaps your response could begin with asking the customer for more information on the issue and what in particular he or she is needing assistance with.

Having the consumer explain the issue in more detail allows him/her to think through things rationally and get in the mindset of resolving the issue. It’s still reassuring for the customers to know you’re there in case they need you.

An angry customer

The Walt Disney Company is known for being an exceptional company and having perfected the art of customer service.

Their approach is with the acronym H.E.A.R.D. which stands for:

  • Hear
  • Empathize
  • Apologize
  • Resolve
  • Diagnose

We know it can be frustrating to deal with angry customers, but focus on not getting angry yourself and keeping perspective when dealing with service issues.

You might say something such as, “I’m very sorry about the issue you’re experiencing with our product. You’re right – it shouldn’t take that long to fix, and I understand how frustrated you are.

Our developers are currently working on this, and I’ll continue to provide updates until the issue is resolved. Again, we apologize for the inconvenience.”

The customer will be happy to hear that the company is passionate about fixing the issue and understands the frustration behind it.

When drafting email responses to complaints, keep in mind how the customer feels and think about how you’d want a brand to handle your complaint/request. Be compassionate and informative. Provide updates and keep the customer in-the-know whenever possible.

Consistency is Key – 

When consumers contact your business, they should always have the same type of positive experience no matter how they choose to contact you.
Your team should also be well-trained and have a great knowledge base. Sadly, almost half of customers have dealt with a customer service representative who was in the wrong in the past. This can easily be avoided with adequate training.

Is your staff well-trained and ready to handle any customer service issue that may come your way?

How Visuals Can Improve Customer Service:

Do you value your customers’ time? It’s crucial to show this by making efforts to resolve issues efficiently and producing user-friendly products.

Strategic use of visual communication is also key. Many of us are drawn to images, videos, GIFs, etc., so why not incorporate these into customer communication rather than strictly relying on emails or phone calls? Through Zight (formerly CloudApp) you can communicate through screenshots, screen recordings, and image snippets.

Imagine you’re a customer experiencing an issue with the use of a product. Would you like it if the company sent you a long page of written instructions, or would you prefer seeing visuals which show how to use the product?

Did you know images yield 50% recollection while text yields 10% recollection?

Increase the effectiveness of your business by using a tool like Zight (formerly CloudApp) to share visuals instantly. Your company could have short videos or descriptive images explaining common customer questions, which could educate consumers quicker and easier than explaining via text.

We live in a world where visuals have proven to be powerful. Why rely on text when people process images 60,000 times quicker?
Applications of Zight (formerly CloudApp) in customer service include:

  1. Keep a detailed record of bugs and necessary improvements
  2. Create and share customer service tools with ease
  3. Efficiently respond to customer service requests with visuals

Zight (formerly CloudApp) has proven to help improve customer relations and communication in the workplace. Remember to focus on training, consistency, visual communication to provide a better overall experience for your customers.

Obtain more information on customer service support here.

Are you ready to enhance visuals to improve customer service within your company? Sign up today for a free Zight (formerly CloudApp) account. Our tools can improve team collaboration and the way information is shared with consumers.

Ready to chat with us about how to save time, money and help your team communicate better?