How to Effectively Handle Customer Complaints: An Exhaustive Guide
Customer Success

How to Effectively Handle Customer Complaints: An Exhaustive Guide

This article is an informative guide that talks about the challenges, know-hows, current market scenario, and trends, of complaint, management for the customer support department. It also states a step-by-step approach to overcome these challenges and manage customer service effectively.

Sanjoli Jain


8 Min

A brand is no longer what we tell the customer it is – it is what customers tell each other it is.

The above quote by Scott Cook is enough to signify the importance of handling a customer complaint. According to a study, 33% of Americans say they’ll consider switching companies after just a single instance of poor complaint management. U.S. companies lose more than $62 billion annually due to poor customer service.

An unhappy customer is likely to tell an average of 11 other people about their bad experience. It is important to recognize complaints as opportunities so you can sway these averages, one resolved complaint at a time.

Whenever a customer brings a complaint to your attention – be thankful for it. Because you can only fix issues that you’re aware of. It is also important to note that acknowledgment is just the first step. The important thing is handling a customer complaint in a positive and constructive manner. Improper handling of a customer complaint can be costly to a business.

This is exactly what we’re going to discuss in this article. We are going to discuss tips, tricks, and organizational procedures for dealing with customer complaints. Read on to find out the most practical and constructive ways of addressing and handling a customer complaint.

Here’s a quick roadmap of steps to be followed while handling a customer complaint:

How To Effectively Handle Customers’ Complaints in an Organization?

A customer complaint might be the result of your user experience setting the customer up for failure and not meeting their expectations. Or it could reflect a problem with your product and services that needs to be addressed and solved as quickly as possible.

The only way to find out is to effectively give credence to customer complaints and determine if they contain genuinely useful feedback. To uncover the reason for receiving a customer complaint and solve the problem to retain that customer, use these following steps:

Step 0: Make Sure That Customers’ Query Reach You

The most ground necessity for handling a customer complaint is that the customers must be able to reach you. Nobody likes to wait in long queues to report their complaints. These days customers expect and prefer online or telephonic mediums. Hence, you can offer a multichannel medium to register their complaints too. But that might create a staffing problem for your organization. You might have to have more agents to address different issues of different channels.

Omnichannel Complaint Registration

Adopt omnichannel solutions and engage with your customers across the channels of their choice. Omnichannel gives your customers a fully integrated, unified customer support experience with your company across various channels and devices. This enables you to deliver support efficiently.

Statistics show that 47% of consumers admit to using three to five different communication channels to get in touch. 90% customers expect a consistent brand experience across all channels. Omnichannel solutions allow you to streamline your communication process through a single unified channel and saves time and labor. To find out the most customer preferred channels look at the following graph.

Omnichannel Complaint Registration

Most preferred communication channels

The popularity of online customer service, particularly live chat and email is rising with social media at the third position. According to a survey, 1 in 4 (26%) consumers have used live chat to contact a company. 73% customers were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with the experience they received via this touch point.

Phone calls and SMS are the lowest rated customer service touch point. Studies show that only 43% and 40% of consumers respectively were satisfied while using these touch points.

Step 1: Addressing Issues

Complaint lodging is the first step in the process. Asking the right questions helps you get to the root of the complaint. Customer complaints – even angry ones – contain insights and it is your responsibility to seek out the point of friction. The Socratic questioning technique can help you get to the very core of the issue.

Ask the Right Questions to Your Customers

In order to get to the core of the problem, you need to ask the correct questions. Be patient with your customers and ask them a question like:

  • What do you mean by…?
  • Could you expand on that point further?
  • Could you provide an example?

Make Sure the Agents ask Right Questions While Noting the Complain

Once you’ve asked questions about the complaint, make sure your agents focus on questions and information they will need to solve the issue. For example:

  • What other information do I need?
  • Is this a repetitive complaint?
  • Does this complaint need prioritization?

By asking the right questions you can easily figure out if there is a way to resolve the issue and determine if the complaint contains useful feedback or not. Once you address and review the complaint, the next step would be to make sure the complaint goes to the correct agent for resolution.

Step 2: Identify The Type and Assign Accordingly

A study from the University of Florida found that when handling a customer complaint, you run into different types of customers. Each of these customers is motivated by different beliefs, attitudes, and needs.

As an administrator or the head of the customer service department, it is your primary responsibility to assure that you transfer customer queries to experts in that particular section. Divide your agents into multiple teams or categories. So that the assigning process can be smooth and accurate. Keep the following things in mind while assigning the complaints:

Issue Prioritization

All customers matter! This motto will earn you good brand recognition. Even the smallest of customer issues need to be solved in a timely manner. Hence assign accordingly. You may frame multiple workflows according to your agent capacity and distribute work accordingly.

Agent Expertise

Not only is the timely response important in handling a customer complaint, but it is also important to make sure that you assign the right person to the right issue. You can do this manually or with complaint management software that offers automation features.

Most companies these days rely on these automation features that help them divide incoming tickets based on various aspects like expertise, time, nature of the ticket, and so on. A complaint management software can help you do this and reduce laborious manual tasks. It can simplify your work, lower your support costs and streamline your agent workflows with various automation features.

DeskXpand’s automated complaint management software provides built-in-automation functionalities that will do away with all your redundant tasks. DeskXpand helps companies automate a well-orchestrated support workflow, ticket assignment based on expertise and customer responses. Take a demo and find out more.

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Step 3: Maintain the Timeline

When it comes to unhappy customers, a speedy or timely response is a must-have. It is the bare minimum that the customers expect. Complaints are best resolved as soon as possible. While handling a customer complaint, it is important to maintain the timeline. This will not be possible if you do not have dedicated workflows or systems in place.

Even if you are not able to resolve it immediately, at least keep in touch with your customers. Let them know the status of their issue. Keep them involved at every stage of the resolution journey. Make responding to them a priority. If you have a complaint management system, you can ask for features like canned responses. Your agents can use these responses so that they won’t have to type the status email every time they inform a customer about their ticket status.

Step 4: Present a Solution after Verifying That The Problem is Solved

The next step in handling a customer complaint is resolving the issue. Once you’ve identified the root cause, found a solution, verify and send it to the customer, it is important to verify that the solution you proposed actually solved the problem. You can either personally ask customers or, add this line to the end of your communication: “Please let me know if there’s anything else I can do for you. I’m happy to help!” Such personalized messages will also help you build your brand identity.

In some cases, it may even be worth reaching back to the customers. These things work in increasing brand loyalty. You may also want to monitor any satisfaction ratings after providing customer support. Negative feedback may be a sign that there are still issues that need to be addressed.

Step 5: Track the Trends

Regular analytics and reporting of trends are important for the customer service department. If you’ve received one complaint from one customer about one specific issue then the issue might not be worth worrying about. But if you receive multiple complaints about the same issue, you cannot overlook it. There must be problems with the product or services. You need to actively seek help from the manufacturing/technical team and get this issue fixed before it causes any other inconveniences.

You can easily identify high-volume complaints through complaint management software that offers analytics and reporting features. A good complaint management system lets you view analytics and trends from a single dashboard through customized reports. You can also go for a complaint management system that allows multiple integrations of third-party tools. Whatever system you use, the key is to make it easy to capture meaningful complaints and track the volume of customers who are bringing up similar or identical issues.

How to Resolve Customer Complaints: A Quick Recap

The procedure should be easy to understand and followed by all your staff. Here’s a quick recap of the complaints handling procedure:

1. Listen to the complaint and all the details around it.

2. Record details of the complaint. Make sure you do not miss essential details.

3. Get all the facts. Ask the right questions.

4. Discuss options for fixing the problem. Keep your customers involved throughout the timeline.

5. Act quickly. Immediate response is essential. Try handling a customer complaint within 24 hours of the complaint registration

6. Follow up and keep in touch with your customers even after serving them with the solution.

So these were the basic steps to follow while handling a customer complaint. While handling a customer complaint if you make sure to follow these steps, you’re good to go. When you resolve customer complaints successfully, you will better understand their needs, retain them as loyal customers, and enhance your business.

However, these days opting for technological solutions for handling customer complaints that follow these steps by default is the best solution to go with. A complaint management software is a one-stop point of contact that provides centralized information and support management service. It helps companies handle their internal as well as external queries. It helps them address and resolve customer grievances faster and efficiently by using various features like automation, analytics, and more. DeskXpand is one such effective and efficient complaint management software.

How does DeskXpand Help in Handling a Customer Complaint?

DeskXpand is an exceptional complaint management software that helps businesses provide quick resolutions to their customers and simplify their support. It is a fully automated, omnichannel solution that caters to all types of business needs. It is a one-stop, fit-for-all solution to all your support needs and serves small to large businesses. Reduce high-cost, laborious, and redundant data-entry tasks by DeskXpand automated complaint management software.

Prominent Features of DeskXpand Customer Complaint Management System

  • Extensive Ticketing Features: Ticketing is the most important feature for complaint management software. Easily group, sort, and filter the incoming query tickets using filter combinations for quick and easy access to the information within the system.
  • Unified Interface: Solve customer issues while viewing everything you need in one place. You can view all information on a unified dashboard and then guide your team and operations.
  • Integration: DeskXpand complaint management system offers in-system integrations of various tools that let you manage everything from a single interface
  • Analyze and Improve: DeskXpand helps you measure your team performance and analyze the areas of improvement to better customer service. It helps you with the latest trends, roadblocks and analyze the areas of improvement to better customer service.
  • Enables Full Collaboration: DeskXpand helpdesk software provides a shared inbox for team collaboration that enables resolving customer queries faster.
  • Automation to Increase Efficiency: DeskXpand’s automated ticketing features help reduce high-cost, laborious, and redundant data-entry tasks. It also helps you with issue prioritization.
  • Flexible Customization: It lets you customize your help desk fully and provide a cohesive brand experience to your customers.
  • Adaptable and Convenient: No more juggling between various tools and accounts. With DeskXpand help desk management software, your agents can answer emails, calls and chat from one place.
  • Extensive Self-help Knowledge Base: DeskXpand lets you create an extensive knowledge base to help your customers help themselves. Get more website traffic using a customized knowledge base and mark your brand as informative and resourceful.
  • Solution at Lightning Speed: Our helpdesk software lets you solve customer queries by quickly acknowledging the incoming tickets. Your agents can then work to provide an effective solution.

Bottom Line

We are an ISO27001 certified portal development company with 14+ years of development experience. We build products that you can customize according to your present and future needs. DeskXpand is built by functional experts and developers with certifications in their respective fields. We would like to showcase how our product works effectively for your business.

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