Regardless of the industry you work in, the business you run, or the types of inquiries your call center typically handles, you are going to get complaints. It’s impossible to please every single customer 100% of the time. In fact, receiving customer complaints can actually be a good thing, as they alert you to issues that your customers are unhappy with and that you may have the power to improve or change. Since receiving customer complaints is inevitable, it’s critical that the agents in your call center know how to handle them in a way that will leave the customer feeling heard and will not further damage their experience with your company. Here, we’re providing a roadmap that will help them do just that.
Step 1: Listen
The absolute best way to make your customer feel heard? Listen to them. Give them the time and space they need to communicate their complaint. Never interrupt them, express doubt about the veracity of their complaints or assure them that they are wrong. Doing any of these things can seriously damage your company’s relationship with the customer, sometimes irrevocably. Always let them fully express the issue they experienced and why it was unsatisfactory before moving forward with the call.
Step 2: Take Responsibility
Have you ever heard the phrase ‘the customer is always right’? It’s never been truer than at this step in the customer complaint process. During this stage of a call, you aren’t yet trying to figure out what went wrong or solve the issue. You merely want the customer to know that you heard them and that, as a representative of the company, you take full responsibility for the problem they experienced. The best way to do this is to use the active rather than the passive voice. Instead of saying “I’m sorry that your products were delivered late,” say “I’m sorry that we delivered your products late.” This is also a good time to spell out how you plan to proceed with handling the complaint. If you’re going to keep the customer on the line while you do some digging together, tell them. If you need to put out some information requests or do further research and then call them back, tell them that. This way, you are taking responsibility for both the source of their complaint and the problem-solving process.
Step 3: Collect Data
Data is so important to the successful running of your call center and that is especially true when handling complaints. In this case, you’ll want to collect information from the customer that might give you more insight into the problem behind their complaint as well as draw from existing customer data to see if it can help you come to a resolution faster. If you are getting the same complaint from multiple customers, you should be able to solve it faster for the twentieth customer than you did for the first, in large part thanks to the data you collected from each customer in between.
Step 4: Act
How you act on a complaint is going to vary based on the nature of the complaint as well as the agent’s capabilities. For example, some call centers might staff agents that are more specialized, so the agent who initially takes and logs the complaint may need to pass the resolution off to somebody else. Likewise, the data collection phase may take longer for some complaints than others, so much so that by the time new information comes in the agent who received the complaint may be off duty and a different agent will be responsible for the follow up and resolution. However it comes about, action must be taken and it must be taken in a timely manner.
Another way to support your agents in handling customer complaints? Supply them with an intuitive, easy-to-use call center platform like CallShaper. To learn more, contact us today.