Everyone wants to know how to handle customer complaints in their call center. Can you imagine losing a third of your customers in a single day? According to research by professional services firm PwC, that’s exactly what could happen if your customer service falters. Their survey found that 32% of consumers would stop doing business with a brand they loved after a single bad experience. That’s not a lot of room for error!
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Dealing with an angry customer can be hard, but it’s an inevitable part of doing business. What sets great companies apart is how well they’re able to turn negative customer experiences into positive ones through excellent service. Believe it or not, if you play your cards right, a frustrated customer can become one of your biggest brand advocates.
To make that happen, follow these surefire tips for successfully solving the problem and handling customer complaints in your call center.
Handling the complaint
When you have a customer-first make a complaint, take a step back and look at the bigger picture. When people are frustrated or angry, it can be difficult to remain neutral in the face of criticism, but an emotional response will only further complicate things.
Practice active listening and give the disgruntled customer your full attention before responding. Empathy goes a long way here. Make sure you’re putting yourself in their shoes—if this were your problem, what would you want the company to do for you? Remain solution-oriented, express your understanding, and assure them that your number one priority is to get things fixed.
Each complaint should ideally be handled by one agent, never pass the customer around from person to person. You should always ensure that the agent assigned to the case has the ability to deal with the situation and provide your customers with all of the context necessary to problem solve and set things on the right track again. We go into more detail about the importance of training agents to handle sticky situations and avoid frustrations in the contact center in this blog post.
Here are the 4 steps we recommend following when you’re handling customer complaints in the contact center:
Train for it
Training is everything. You wouldn’t throw a new salesperson out onto the showroom floor without knowledge of your products, or spend a bunch of money on a big advertising campaign without doing some market research first. So why put agents on the front lines without proper training for the situations they’re going to encounter?
Reiterate their concerns
When you have a handle on what’s going on, paraphrase their complaint and repeat it back to them with a statement like, “if I understand correctly, you’re upset because of an unexpected increase in your bill.”
Reiterating your customers’ concerns back to them will help them feel heard and ensure you have an accurate grasp on the problem at hand so you can get down to solving it.
Word choice matters
Omit words that can come off as aggressive, like “actually,” and avoid phrasing that places blame on the customer for the issue.
When an angry customer contacts you, they’re handing you a prime opportunity to turn the situation around and win a supporter for life. Don’t take it for granted. Use these tips to transform a negative experience into a positive one that customers will remember long after their frustration fades.
Finding the solution
Now that your customer has finished airing their grievance and you’ve given a sincere apology, it’s time to find a solution. The most straightforward way to deal with a frustrated customer is to resolve their problem swiftly and effectively.
Don’t give them the runaround through automated phone systems that lead nowhere. Instead, use virtual agents to offer convenient self-service tools
Don’t give them the runaround through automated phone systems that lead nowhere. Instead, use virtual agents to offer convenient self-service tools with the option to reach a live agent promptly if needed. Employ intelligent call routing to direct calls to the agent best suited to handle the problem from the get-go, minimizing the amount of handoffs required.
Remember that negative feedback isn’t the end of the world!
In the future when you ask yourself how to handle customer complaints in your call center, remember that customer complaints aren’t all bad. Customer feedback, even the negative kind, can be used to identify fault products, service, or processes. They’re a great way to challenge the status quo and recalibrate your customer support journeys. Customer complaints as a valuable resource to your organization and an opportunity to improve what you do and how you do it.