Navigating Customer Complaints Like a Pro
Not every customer is created equally, and when it comes to the complaints we (yes, we) may have, the personality differences amongst us can be glaringly obvious. Despite being deeply involved in the customer service industry, I, too, have been known to cop a specific kind of tone or attitude if I feel my grievance is going unheard by a service agent. While customers can most certainly be a real handful to deal with, especially when they come at you like a spider monkey, handling their complaints with intention and care can often make the difference between keeping them or keeping them.
Real talk: the first step in handling their complaints like a pro is to remember the value each complaint holds. It’s the very gripes customer service agents loathe that are actually the most valuable, because without them, implementing product and service improvements would be far less effective.
So, how do you navigate the uncharted waters that come with customers and their complaints? Here are some tips you’ll find helpful:
Scripting needs to be on point
Whether your business’ service team is completely internal or you’re utilizing overflow support from a customer support marketplace, scripting and troubleshooting resources must be at the ready and easily searchable. Building out scripts should be considered an art form because when created with rhyme and reason, they can perform like a one-stop-shop for customer complaints and issues. As an agent, it’s important to recognize when there are holes in the scripts, that way they can be filled with the necessary information and protocols that will empower the next agent and customer who encounter the same issue.
Make any handoffs super slick
Can we collectively agree that no customer ever on planet earth enjoyed repeating their issue to every agent to whom they get transferred? When it comes to receiving support for an issue, it may be the most frustrating and anger-inducing experience of all. Notes, notes, and more notes are key here. Before escalating a disgruntled customer to a supervisor or manager, make sure you have added all the information into your customer’s profile, then give your supervisor a brief of the issue and where you left off. This way, you avoid forcing your already annoyed customer to re-explain, plus you’re able to more efficiently move them towards a solution.
Build out FAQs as a resource for your agents and customers
Once you start to notice the same questions are coming from your customers over and over again, there are a couple of different steps that you’ll want to take. For starters, gather the frequently asked questions to ensure they aren’t disappearing into the abyss. Carve out some time to assemble a FAQ resource for your agents, but also communicate pertinent information to your product development team for potential improvements and innovations, and add the FAQs to your website. You may find that adding this cheat sheet resource to your site can eliminate a slew of phone calls, emails, and live chat inquiries from customers.
Learn how to be a kind and solid listener
Attentive listening takes practice and patience, especially when interrupting to insert your suggestion or solution feels like the most efficient and effective way to move on to the next step, or in many cases, the next customer. Fight the urge and instead actively listen to what your customer is desperately hoping to communicate to you. This is an ideal opportunity to take some notes, ask additional questions, and get the full story before offering up your solution.
Once you’ve received what appears to be the full story, albeit sometimes an insanely long one, offer your solution from a place that is led by empathy. Understand that the way you handle these customers can truly make or break the relationship, and those moments that can lead to some of the most loyal customers.
Go above and beyond whenever you can
How customer-centric is your business? It’s important to be reminded of how important it is to go above and beyond for your customers because after all, they’re sort of a key player in the game of business. That being said, navigating customer complaints and issues from a place of customer-centricity looks like: offering a discount, gift vouchers, or a free month of service or product for a subscriber.
Follow up with them
It’s good to be curious about how your customers are doing, and also to learn how they would rate the experience they had with your support team. A quick follow up with your customer via email, survey, or even a phone call to see if they are doing well and if they have any further feedback is the kind of attention to detail builds lasting relationships that bring increased lifetime value you’d otherwise miss. Make it abundantly clear that their experience with your brand is of the utmost importance!
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