11 Tips for Converting Customer Complaints to Sales Opportunities
Any salesperson worth their salt knows that all customer feedback is valuable—even and especially the negative type. Publicly responding to negative comments or taking the extra time to follow up after a poor survey rating can go miles for improving products and building your business’s public perception. We know that front office technologies like CRM make it easy to track customer complaints and provide timely information to sales, service agents, product teams, and other need-to-know departments. But how are you actioning that information?
Few businesses take that next step of turning complaints into sales opportunities.
Everyone pays lip service to customer satisfaction, but not many people make a real commitment to act on it every day. If it isn’t a priority for your organization, don’t expect it to be high on the list for your service agents, either.
Most customer service agents still think a customer problem is an obstacle to avoid because it may be uncomfortable and difficult to resolve. They have a tough, sometimes thankless job. And let’s not forget that we’ve been socially conditioned to avoid conflict; it’s only natural to try and avoid it.
Human nature is a tough thing to challenge, let alone change. But with a few deep breaths, the right tools in place, and a willingness to roll your sleeves up and lean into the difficulty you can make those prickly situations a little less painful, dare we say, even fruitful.
So batten the hatches, practice that poker face, and stay calm with these 11 tips.
Bad stuff happens, but it’s not the end of the world.
Sometimes things happen and customers complain about it. Don’t look at this as a failure but as an opportunity to play a different hand. Handling the tough stuff properly show your customers you really care about them. And if you play your cards right, you can turn the situation around and improve your business in the process.
Customer complaints give you the chance to see your company through the customers’ eyes. Complaints are a valuable data set that you can yield actionable process improvements either to your workflow or build on employee training programs.
It’s a kind of a lifecycle unto itself, this whole complaint handling business. By pointing out weaknesses, you’re able to improve. When you improve performance, you delight customers.
Here’s how to deliver the powerful combination of a great ticketing system and well-trained agents to harness this cycle for converting complaints into capital.
Convert those Complaints into Cash in 11 Steps
- Start with a feature-rich true omnichannel ticketing system.
- Respond quickly to any attempt on any channel to contact your business.
- Customers should feel valued and understood–that your agent takes their complaints seriously and treats them with importance.
- Agents must know how to consistently build rapport with all kinds of people.
- Take responsibility for the problem and be open, honest and transparent.
- Use canned messages, launched at the click of a button and other automated systems to improve speed for common questions.
- Offer compensation for complaints. Apologies are a good start, but give agents the option to give valuable compensation such as coupons, refunds, discounts, etc.
- Include reading previous customer communications into agent protocols. Agents should interact with customers knowing who they are and their ticket history, so they feel a personal connection and don’t have to repeat their story.
- Always express appreciation for customer business.
- Follow up after tickets are resolved to be sure it’s resolved and sometimes offer a gift at that point.
- Escalate tickets when needed.
Customer complaints are par for the course in any business. American consumers filed 2.68 million complaints with the Federal Trade Commission last year, illustrating just how frequently complaints arise. The most common type of consumer complaints involve customer service issues, accounting for 52 percent of all complaints, followed by product problems, which account for 31.4 percent of complaints, and service or policy issues, which make up 16.6 percent of complaints, a Corra study of negative reviews notes.
People have opinions. And they’re entitled to them. You can’t escape that, but how you respond to those opinions when they’re registered as complaints can hurt or help your business. We’ve all heard the saying “you can’t win ‘em all.” While that statement is true, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to.
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