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Customer service representatives

6 Building Blocks to the Perfect Complaint Response Plan

We’ve all been there. Many a moment of business well-being has been tarnished with the news of a complaint being lodged against you by an unsatisfied customer.

Sadly, complaints are almost inevitable in any customer service environment, but what sets apart the best from the rest is the way you respond.

Preparing for complaints will help streamline the customer experience of having their complaint dealt with. Having a pre-planned response to complaints will also generate consistency in your customer service. You’ll be surprised at how much better your customer service team operate when they’re all singing from the same hymn sheet.

Here are our 6 building blocks to a complaint response plan that turns complainers into advocates:

1. Stay Calm

This is fundamental in providing a good response to a complaint. Unhappy customers are, well, unhappy, and sometimes even noticeably angry. Staying calm will reflect positively on the company. Customers aren’t angry at you personally; you just happen to be the face of the company at that moment. Compose yourself and don’t take anything personally.

2. Refer to the pre-written guide

Pre-written responses have a bad reputation, and a lot of people believe they do not work, but they are vital to creating streamlined processes and maximizing productivity. When we say ‘guide’, we do not mean script. Agents should be able to act with a little flexibility whilst sticking to a pre-prepared route. Personalization is key in customer service. Scientific research has shown that when the customer hears their own name in a customer service situation, a positive chemical reaction happens in their brain. Regardless of the science, learn the customer’s name.

3. Deploy empathy

Customers are never annoyed by their unpleasant experience with your company alone. Several things in their lives will have amounted to the level of frustration required to call customer services to have a shout at an agent. It is important for agents to empathize with the customer. Encourage your agents to put themselves in the customer’s shoes and call on their own life experiences.

4. Take responsibility

Telling an angry customer that the problem is not your fault is just going to make the situation worse. The customer knows that it is not directly your fault, so do not try and bounce responsibly to another individual or department. It is your job to fix the issue, so focus on doing that.

5. Be positive

Try and be proactive. Offer solutions, use positive language and be forward thinking. “Let me find that out for you” will always be a better response than “I don’t know”.

6. Be even more helpful

Once the problem is resolved, see if there is anything else that you can do for the customer. Customers will often have other issues that they did not think warranted a call to customer services that your agents may be able to help with. This is the point where you turn satisfied customers into company advocates.

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