10 Common Customer Complaints & How to Address Them

How can you prevent customer churn that is caused by unresolved customer complaints? Research shows it’s more expensive to attract a customer than it is to retain one. Managing customer complaints well is vital for your retention. Learn what to do when your customer complains about your services and why the complaints are actually good for your company.

Zight | February 07, 2018 | 13 min read time

Article Last Updated: August 25, 2023

10 Common Customer Complaints & How to Address Them

Running a business isn’t just about delivering products or services; it’s also about keeping customers satisfied! Yet, customer complaints are inevitable. Rather than viewing them as setbacks, you can view them as transformational opportunities for growth.

So, when your customer calls or writes with a complaint, how do you manage the situation? You want to be very proactive in handling customer issues, but how can you do it?

In this guide, we will help you turn the complaints into trust-builders that will eventually boost your customer service and business success. We discuss the typical customer complaints you might get and how to resolve them to maintain good professional relationships.

Let’s jump in!

What Are Customer Complaints?

Customer complaints are expressions of dissatisfaction by your clients. They stem from an experience that did not meet their expectations with your product, service, or any facet of your business operation. These complaints may arise for various reasons – a delay in service, a faulty product, or even poor customer service.

Addressing these complaints is crucial to maintaining a healthy relationship with your customers. They offer you a chance to fix a problem and retain a customer while providing valuable feedback to help you improve your business. If handled effectively, you can convert a customer complaint into an opportunity for growth and enhanced customer satisfaction.

Did you know that you can resolve a ton of customer complaints quickly by making use of annotated screenshots, recording a minute of your screen to illustrate something that’s not clear to the customer, or by reaching out in advance with a personalized webcam recording to tell the customer that you will be there for them if they need something? And you can do all that using Zight’s robust screen capture tools.

5 Major Benefits of Customer Complaints to Any Business or Company

While sometimes difficult to handle, customer complaints can benefit your business in multiple ways. Here are the top five ways:

I. They Are Opportunities For Growth

A customer complaint highlights areas where your service or product isn’t hitting the mark. By listening to these complaints, you can identify common trends and pinpoint specific areas for improvement.

This feedback is invaluable, as it guides you to make necessary changes that enhance your products or services and increase customer satisfaction.

II. They Foster Stronger Customer Relationships

In a business, you will deal with a dissatisfied customer every now and then. But you won’t lose that customer when you know how to resolve customer complaints.

Responding promptly and effectively to complaints shows your customers that you value their feedback and are committed to providing excellent service. When you address their issues and communicate openly, you build trust and strengthen your relationships with them. This can increase customer loyalty and lead to long-term business relationships.

III. They Will Boost Your Business Reputation

Handling customer complaints professionally can enhance your business reputation. When other potential customers see that you take complaints seriously and work diligently to resolve them, they’re likely to perceive your business as reliable and trustworthy. In the long run, this can help attract new customers and retain existing ones, contributing to your business’s growth.

IV. They Encourage Customer Retention

It’s well-known that retaining an existing customer is far more cost-effective than acquiring a new one. Studies show that attracting a new customer can cost five times more than retaining one, so you want to give your happy and unhappy customers the best value.

By addressing a customer’s complaint promptly and effectively, you give customers a reason to stay with your company even when things go awry. This maintains your customer base and can lead to increased customer lifetime value.

V. They Create Opportunities for Engagement

Customer complaints provide a unique opportunity for your customer service team to engage with your customers on a more personal level. Addressing their concerns not only solves their immediate issues; it also establishes a deeper, more personal connection with your brand.

As your customer service representatives interact with the customers, they better understand their needs and expectations, providing a more personalized experience. Ultimately, this increases customer loyalty.

10 Common Customer Complaints And How You Can Resolve Them

Examples of Complaints And How You Can Resolve Them

Do you have an upset customer? Here are 10 customer dissatisfaction reviews you can look out for and how to resolve them to maintain excellent customer service:

1. “Why Does It Take Forever?” – Long Wait Times

No one likes to be kept waiting, and your customers are no different. Long wait times, whether for receiving a product, a service, or even a response from customer service reps, can be a significant source of frustration for your customers.

This issue could make them feel unvalued and neglected, leading to a negative perception of your business. Long wait times could prompt your customers to take their business elsewhere if left unresolved.

How to Resolve Long Wait Times

To succeed with this customer complaint resolution, first, understand the root cause. It could be due to an understaffed customer service team, inefficient processes, or high demand for a particular product or service.

Once you’ve identified the problem, work on finding a solution. For example, if wait times are long due to high demand, consider increasing your inventory or staff during peak periods. If the issue is with customer service response times, consider implementing automated responses to assure customers that their request has been received and will be attended to shortly.

As you resolve, ensure you maintain good communication with the customer. Keep your customers in the know about how long they might have to wait and provide regular updates. This can help manage their expectations and reduce their frustration.

2. “This Isn’t What I ordered!” – Product or Service Issues

It’s incredibly disappointing for a customer to receive a product or service that doesn’t meet their expectations. It could be a wrong item shipped, a service not delivered as promised, or a product that doesn’t work as advertised. Such situations can erode trust and damage your relationship with the customer.

Addressing Product or Service Issues

Resolving product or service issues starts by acknowledging the problem, apologizing, and assuring the customer that you’re working on a solution. Your return and exchange policies should be clear, simple, and customer-friendly to make the process less stressful for the customer.

If the product or service is not performing as advertised, this could indicate a gap in communication about the product’s features and capabilities. Here’s where Zight (formerly CloudApp) comes in handy.

Using Zight, you can create clear and concise product or service demos through screen recordings or webcam. Sharing these with your customers can ensure they understand what they are purchasing and set the right expectations.

3. “I Just Can’t Reach You!” – Difficulty in Reaching Customer Service

One of the quickest ways to lose existing customers is to be unavailable when they need you. It’s exasperating, and the frustration is compounded if they have an urgent issue that needs resolving. Difficulty contacting customer service can leave your customers feeling ignored and undervalued, and they could take their business elsewhere.

Resolving Customer Service Accessibility

The key to resolving this issue is to provide multiple, easy-to-find contact options like email, phone numbers, live chat, and social media channels. Ensure that these channels are adequately staffed to handle incoming inquiries.

You can also use software like Zight to create an easily accessible knowledge base or FAQ section. This could include screenshots, annotated images, and video guides addressing common customer queries. A well-equipped or self-service knowledge base can save your customers the trouble of reaching out for every minor issue, freeing up your customer service team to deal with more complex queries.

Also, don’t forget to train your customer service team to respond promptly and courteously.

4. “Do I Even Matter To You?” – Poor Customer Service

Poor customer service can include unresponsive service representatives to rude or indifferent interactions. This can be detrimental to your business, as customers may take their business elsewhere if they feel they’re not being treated well.

Resolving Poor Customer Service

A resolution starts with being empathetic to a customer’s frustrations. Train your team to understand and validate customer concerns, showing genuine interest in helping them. Good customer service goes beyond resolving the issue at hand—it involves making the customer feel valued and respected throughout the interaction.

Also, you need consistency when handling customer complaints. You may need to ensure your customer support team trains regularly to maintain service standards. Finally, empower your teams with the right customer support tools and software to handle customer requests quickly.

5. “Why Can’t I Get My Money Back?” – Inefficient Return or Refund Process

When the return or refund process is complicated or slow, it can increase customer frustration. They might feel like they’re jumping through hoops to get their money back, adding insult to injury if they’re already disappointed with a product or service.

Resolution: Streamline Your Refund and Return Process

Start by making your return and refund policies crystal clear and easily accessible. Next, reduce the steps required to complete a return or request a refund. Automating this process can be a game-changer. Alternatively, create videos or GIFs with Zight showcasing each step the customer should complete.

Also, update the customer at each stage so they know when to expect their refund. This shows respect for their time and money, ultimately enhancing their trust in your business.

6. “What Was That Charge on My Card?” – Inaccurate Billing

Inaccurate billing can cause significant frustration and confusion for your customers. Errors on bills include overcharging, incorrect details, or charges for products or services that the customer didn’t purchase.

Resolving Inaccurate Billings

To tackle this issue, review and audit your billing processes regularly to ensure your billing system is reliable and accurate. Also, train your staff to double-check all bills before sending them out.

If a customer does report a billing error, address it promptly. Verify the mistake, rectify it, and communicate the correction to the customer as quickly as possible.

7. “Why Is Your Website So Confusing?” – Website or App Issues

Customers can get frustrated when they face difficulties navigating your website or app. This could include broken links, confusing layouts, or slow loading times. These issues can deter customers from using your digital platforms and potentially lead to lost sales and poor SEO metrics.

Resolving the Digital User Experience

Regularly conduct user testing to identify potential issues and fix them promptly. Ensure your website or app has a clean, intuitive interface that’s easy to navigate.

8. “I Keep Having The Same Issue?” – Unresolved Issues

Little could be more aggravating for a customer than repeatedly bringing up the same issue without seeing a resolution. This could occur due to delays, changes in representatives handling the issue, or their concerns getting overlooked.

Resolving Issues Fast

Prompt and efficient problem-solving should be a priority. To ensure an issue isn’t dragged out, keep track of all customer interactions using a reliable Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. This will help in case of a change in representatives and ensure continuity in addressing the issue.

9. “I Had No Idea!” – Lack of or Poor Communication

Customers can complain if you don’t inform them of updates that can affect their interaction with your business. This can range from a change in pricing, updates to your terms of service to a delay in their order delivery.

Resolving Poor Communication

A proactive approach to communication can make a world of difference here. Ensure your customers are the first to know about any changes or updates that might impact them. You can deliver updates through regular emails, notifications, or on your website.

Zight offers an excellent platform for making your communications more engaging and clear. You can use it to create informative videos or annotated screenshots explaining the changes or updates. Send these directly to your customers or in emails.

10. “Why Can’t I Find What I want?” – Frequent Out-of-stock Issues

Customers can become disheartened when they can’t find a product or service they’re seeking. Whether it’s a product that’s consistently out of stock or a service that’s booked solid for weeks, this can leave customers feeling disappointed and may push them to look elsewhere.

Resolving Product Or Service Availability

Address this by closely monitoring your inventory and service bookings – anticipate demand and plan accordingly to prevent shortages. In cases where shortages can’t be avoided, communicate this proactively to customers and offer alternatives if possible.

5 Best Practices for Handling Customer Complaints

Image Credits: survicate.com

You are almost always guaranteed to get a customer complaint every so often. So, besides anticipating the types of complaints you’ll get based on your business offering, you also need to have the right approach when you handle customer complaints. Here are five practices that you or your customer service rep can use:

1. Engage More

Engagement is one of the best ways to run interference and get ahead of any complaints that might come up. B2B companies with high customer engagement score 50% higher sales revenues and 34% higher profitability. So, it pays to engage!

Plus, by investing in an active, ongoing relationship with your customers, they’ll also feel invested and be more likely to stick with you if anything ever goes off track.

Think engagement has to take a long time? There are ways to better automate your customer success software through text expanders, smart bots, and automated customer service email campaigns.

2. Make Bots More Human

If a bot feels like a bot…well, then it’s missing the point.

Automation tools are incredibly effective for boosting customer engagement. Chatbots are getting smarter, friendlier, and more helpful by the day. (As a major bonus, they’ve also been shown to reduce customer service costs by 30%).

However, if bots don’t feel warm, personal, invested, or smart (in other words, human) they won’t keep your customers happy and invested.

Make sure your bot’s scripts are humanized and friendly; use screenshots and GIFs to answer an FAQ or make a joke about how ‘I’m still just a bot.’ And when there’s an actual human on live chat, encourage them to have a little fun using emojis, GIFs, and visuals (where relevant!) to make the interaction feel less automated.

3. Make a Human Available

Automation is fantastic and everything, but despite all the jaw-dropping advances in AI, there’s just no substitute for the real deal.

A whopping 83% of customers said if a live person had helped them, it would’ve impacted their decision to switch providers. Seems like we’re not the only ones who press “0” a hundred times just to speak to someone live!

From day one, make it clear that humans can help whenever needed. Provide them with access to your support champions and help desk at the biggest moments in the customer’s journey. For example, when they’ve just reached x number of usages of your product or are about to finish their free trial, these are great times to have real-live support ready and waiting.

Align customer success with your marketing goals to address their biggest wants and fears proactively – and don’t forget to plan for the worst (just in case)!

Foolproof your plan by auditing your customer journey to pinpoint the moments just before they’re most likely to bail and make sure a human ALWAYS checks in first so the customer never reaches the point of no return.

4. Develop a Healthy Obsession with Your Customers

Jeff Bezos is known for being obsessed with customers, to the point that everyone who works at Amazon is too. A not-so-secret reason why Amazon is so successful!

Get your team amped up to inform, delight and learn from your customers. Empower your customer happiness pros to take their time, listen more, and treat customers like friends. Whenever there’s an opportunity to over-deliver, DO IT!

Encourage cross-departmental collaboration and use your internal chat to grab a quick, personalized message from your product head – the customer will know they’ve been heard where it matters most. Plus, you’ll already have it the next time around, so you can have an awesome ready-made reply and satisfy the customer’s need for speed.

5. Track, Track, Track…and ACT

Your customer base is full of profit-driving gems. Customer feedback should not only be heard, but also tracked. Survey tools like SurveyMonkey and Userlike make it super fast and easy to get a quick star rating from your customers via email or live chat. Centralize this data somewhere all your teams can reach it and apply it to future customer interactions.

A great example is Slack’s #beeftweets channel. If you and your teams are strapped for time, make a standing monthly or quarterly meeting to mine through and see what issues spark ideas for improving things.

Ready to start focusing on customer success over customer support? Make it easy to track, plan and analyze the conversation using Zight ’s best customer success tools for free.

To Sum It Up…

And there you have it! We have discussed the customer complaints businesses often encounter and suggested effective ways to address them. From poor customer service to inaccurate billing, website navigation problems to product unavailability, we’ve offered strategies to turn these challenges into opportunities for improvement.

As you see, it’s also vital to use the right approach when dealing with a customer complaint. That’s why we shared the best practices, from engaging with customers, humanizing chatbots, providing human support, cultivating a customer success obsession, and acting on customer engagement metrics.

Remember, a well-handled complaint can turn a dissatisfied customer into a loyal advocate. So, it may be best to integrate visual communication tools into your customer service processes. Not sure where to look? We recommend Zight, the best there is out there!

With Zight’s easy-to-use platform, you can create and share screenshots, videos, and GIFs, providing clear and concise responses to any customer complaint. Click here to download and get started for free!

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Handle Customer Complaints

a) What causes customer complaints?

In most cases, you get a customer complaint from unmet expectations. A business can dissatisfy a customer in many ways, including poor customer service, product or service issues, billing inaccuracies, inefficient return processes, lack of communication, or difficulties navigating a website or app.

b) How can you manage customer complaints?

Managing customer complaints involves a few key steps:

  • Listen: Let the customer express their concern fully without interruption
  • Ask the right questions: This will help you understand the problem more accurately
  • Identify the issue: Clearly understand what the complaint is about
  • Apologize and empathize: A sincere apology can go a long way, and empathy shows the customer you understand their frustration
  • Offer a solution: Provide a reasonable solution based on the issue
  • Follow-up: Check in later to ensure the solution was satisfactory and the issue was resolved
  • Learn and improve: Use each complaint as a learning opportunity to improve your services

c) Why are complaints important?

Complaints provide feedback from unhappy customers about what’s not working. They highlight areas that need improvement, help identify gaps in your company’s product or service, and present opportunities to enhance customer satisfaction.

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