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Dealing with complaining customers

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I like it when I’m getting praised and I’m sure other people do too, but there is a strong reason to appreciate critics just as much as praise, they’re the ones who tell you what to improve and make better, the question now pops; but how do I deal with critics when it comes to my business?

I’ve seen everywhere, many many times, some companies don’t know how to handle the critics coming at them everywhere on social media which leads to their customers fully giving up on their brand which leads to the downfall of everything, however, some cases with good pr and management transform the customers from the angriest to most committed and devoted.

  1. Respond to that feedback and be more accommodating than your other competitors

Nobody enjoys being on hold for hours listening to elevator music while trying to reach the customer support hotline, in fact it makes people wonder why on earth do companies waste a load of money on ads to attract ”potential customers” while they pitch nothing to improve their customer service? It’s easy to tell in these type of situations that the company doesn’t give a crap about their already existing customers, but oops that is a BIG mistake! Because retaining a single extra percent of your customer base can boost your profits by 25 to 85 percent. Now how can a company make sure that its customers will remain loyal?

Key to this is listening to their complaints and guaranteeing their satisfaction, chance are high that if a customer is calling customer service hotline to complain about something is because they are willing to stick with your business for a longer time at least and they care about improving whatever it is that you offer to the best, so if you listen to them and address their worries properly, they will in fact remain a loyal customer of yours

Take for example Debbie Goldberg, one of the co-owners of Fresh Brothers Pizza, who dedicates herself to individually responding to every Yelp review. While receiving minimal negative feedback, Goldberg meticulously attends to those rare instances, beginning with a courteous apology for the customer’s dissatisfaction. Subsequently, she acknowledges the issue raised, assuring the reviewer of the company’s proactive efforts toward resolution.


In addition, she extends a gesture of goodwill by offering a gift certificate to compensate for any inconvenience caused. Through these straightforward actions, Goldberg has effectively retained the loyalty of numerous customers who might otherwise have been lost to the company.

When it comes to complaints and negative feedback, they exist so companies improve their services for their customers, and actually only 5 percent of customers do complain, which makes it all the more important to listen when they do. But remember, the other 95 percent are likely displeased for the same reasons. In fact, listening to these complaints helps uncover the problems your company needs to fix to keep all of its customers happy.

Square Cow Movers, a small family business that works in residential relocations, struggled for a while with negative customer feedback. Afteer further analysis by owner Wade Lombard, it was revealed that customers were angry with the lack of communication regarding the timing of the moving crew’s arrival. Identifying this issue prompted the company to take action. Which led Square Cow Movers to instruct their staff to enhance client communication and ensure timely updates on important details. The result? Success! And no more complaints and bad reviews!  A company can actually beat the competition by offering the most enjoyable experience for customers. That’s because other companies can mimic your products or beat your prices, but your customers will always remain committed to you if you make it worth their while in other ways.

Complaints must be embraced and so do customers, all you have to do is, just ask yourself what would make customers even happier with your service. “outloving” your competitors this way, gets your customers to consider you one of a kind.

  1. Keep it private

Regardless of how developed and digitalized the communication world is right now, cutsomers still favor expressing how frustrated they are through email to customer service than under a facebook post, there is one method called : “H.O.U.R.S” to handle these matters and keep them private

  • Be Human: This involves engaging with your customers in a friendly manner, demonstrating that you view them as individuals, not just numbers. To achieve this, you should express genuine care and steer clear of using generic messages.
  • Next, to address the concerns raised by complainers, it’s crucial to utilize only one communication channel. This implies that you should never redirect clients to another individual or website. After all, complainers are already frustrated, feeling powerless, and seeking a resolution from you. Therefore, if you direct them to another department or an FAQ page on the company’s website, it will only heighten their frustration.
  • Finally, it’s essential to Unify your data to generate optimal solutions that swiftly resolve your client’s issues with speed . This entails documenting all customer complaints. If the complainer mentions a particular problem with your company, it must be addressed. Alternatively, if no specific issue is mentioned, you can share the complaint list with your client service team to collectively brainstorm ways to assist future clients.

When it comes to people who go criticizing your business online, one must know that they dont necessarily expect an answer from you, but you should always answer, obe way to do it is “F.E.A.R.S”

  • First, to resolve public complaints you need to Find them. You can use services like Google Alerts and social media listening software like Mention.net for this.
  • Then, when responding to these customers, you want to show Empathy or your answer will be useless. So, ask yourself how you would want to be addressed if you were the one complaining. For instance, Chris, a cat owner, used the Meow Mix Facebook page to ask about the dyes used in the pet food. He posed the question because whenever his cat vomited, the dyes left terrible stains on his sofa.

The company responded with the readymade answer that they conformed to all industry standards. Then they invited him to call with any further questions. If Chris was a bit frustrated when he posted the question, this response only made it worse.

On the other hand, an empathetic answer would have helped the company’s reputation. For example, they could have acknowledged how troubling it is when a cat throws up and suggested a solution to Chris’ problem. So, empathy is key, but for the greatest impact it’s important to Answer publicly, don’t Reply more than twice and Switch channels if necessary.

For instance, in order to signal that you care about your client’s opinions and aren’t hiding anything, your first response to a complainer in an open forum should be public. But that doesn’t mean you should get drawn into a discussion. After all, such back-and-forths are a time sink and don’t provide additional benefits. Then, after your initial public answer, you might need to use a different channel, like email, to protect your customer’s privacy as you answer their question in detail.

  1. Why wait for a complain

Ultimately, if you aim to earn your customers’ appreciation, it’s wise to rectify any mistakes promptly, even before they have a chance to mention them. Often, by promptly addressing errors, you can prevent customers from lodging complaints altogether. For instance, when Fresh Brothers Pizza delivers a pizza late, even by as little as five minutes, they send the customer a gift certificate to apologize. Strategies like this work great because your customer will appreciate you for addressing the issue, while you dodge a nasty review.

However, there are instances where complaints are inevitable or when an issue arises that isn’t your fault. In such cases, if you take proactive steps to resolve the customer’s problem, it can transform the initial setback into an opportunity for an enhanced customer experience, fostering deeper appreciation. Consider a scenario where you accidentally leave your luggage on a plane, only to have an airline employee present it to you just before you board your next flight.

Well, this scenario is a reality at Schiphol, Amsterdam’s international airport, and the headquarters of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. Here’s how it works:

The cleaning crew and flight attendants often discover misplaced items during aircraft preparations. They promptly inform the Lost and Found team, who cross-reference the items with passengers who have reported losses via social media. If a match is found, the Lost and Found team retrieves the passenger’s itinerary, locates them, and returns the lost item.

Long Story Short: Invest in a killer customer service team !



Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers. J, Baer. March 1, 2016. Portfolio; Illustrated edition.




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