Complaint Resolution Best Practices

As hard as you may try to WOW every customer, unhappy customers are inevitable. Use automation and manual workflows and seek to turn every unhappy customer into a future repeat customer. Here are some best practices to focus on when building your escalation/ resolution processes within a good CX 2.0 strategy:

  • Collect Feedback Unhappy customers need to get their frustrations out. Give them a forum to tell their story: this should be an automated part of the survey workflow. When you know that they had a bad experience, ask them, “Would you tell us what would have improved your experience?” Best to stay positive. Not “Tell us what we did wrong.” But, “How can we do better?”
  • Apologize It is true that customers can sometimes be unreasonable. Although they may be upset with your company for things that are not your fault, that’s not the point. They had a bad experience. Apologizing for their bad experience is not an admission of guilt. Simply tell them that you apologize that they had a bad experience. 
  • Thank and tell them you hear their concerns  Thanking someone for leaving negative comments gives them permission to let it go. Make sure they understand that their perspective is important to you. Resist the urge to defend your company, its policies, or your team. Now is not the time to be combative.
  • Give them a method for continuing the conversation  Set the expectation that you would like to continue the conversation. If they need to talk about it more, you should want to hear them. Also, talking to you about it may prevent them from going on social media or third-party review sites.
  • Escalate every unhappy customer issue  Within seconds of the negative response, someone on your team needs to be alerted to the customer’s concerns. Likely you will escalate to multiple team members. For example, the employee’s manager, regional director, and the customer care/ support team.
  • Email the customer and reinforce your understanding of their concerns Email the customer from a senior leader or someone in customer care. Reinforce that you have heard them, their concerns are important and that you’d be willing to continue the conversation. Give them a method to reach a real person immediately. Avoid anything that will amplify their frustration.
  • Call every unhappy customer Pick up the phone and call the customer personally. Communicate that you’ve just received their survey response and would like to discuss. Seek to resolve their concerns and earn their loyalty. If you can, resolve their issue.
  • Track unhappy customer interactions  Add your comments to reporting and archive all responses and other notes. Use these as training tools and opportunities to improve. Many clients have told us that while unhappy customers are less than 2% of all responses, they get more value from those responses than the 98% that are over-the-top happy.
  • Monitor third-party review sites and reply to all unhappy customer feedback  If someone sees a bad review on Google or another third-party review site, that’s not good. Always reply with empathy and understanding, apologize to the customer publicly, and ask them to contact you offline. People who read the review will not only be inclined to ignore the stated infraction, but they may choose your company because of the way you responded to the unhappy customer.

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