How to Handle Consumer Complaints in an Organization

Modern cloud contact center software solutions have helped in bridging the communication gap between a company and its customers. Not only has it made reaching out to prospects a simple task but has also made it easier for the agents to respond to the complaints, queries and problems of the clients in the quickest time possible.

The best telemarketing software comes with the option of generating alerts whenever a new comment or mail reaches the social media profile or the official email ID of the company. As a result, the callers never miss a mention and can respond to them accordingly. However, despite this the majority of the times, it can be difficult to handle an agitated customer who is irked with the services of the corporation and wishes to criticize it for its actions.

Consumer complaints are inevitable no matter how systematic you are or how streamlined your business operations are. Take them in the right stride and make attempts to deal with them in an effective manner. That buyers are reaching out to you shows that they are still concerned about the business and wish to give it a second chance.

Do not make the mistake of ignoring or dismissing the complaints, as this can make you seem a corporation who does not value their opinions. If you take the messages of your buyers in a light way, it is not only going to cost you a loss of a potentially good client but will also leave a dent on your reputation in the market.

Here are a few tips on how you can effectively tackle the complaints of a consumer.

1. Listen and Stay Calm

• The first and the foremost thing that the buyers want from the representatives is their undivided attention. The primary thing to remember when dealing with agitated purchasers is that they need to vent their pent up frustration and being the primary source of contact the agents are generally expected to be patient while the customer rambles away.

• The majority of times, the buyers want to talk to a senior staff member when they feel that the tele-caller is not paying them adequate attention or is not bothered by the problems faced by them. The clients need to be heard and feel understood. Hence, it is vital that you allow them to speak uninterrupted.

• When the consumer first makes the complaint take a step back and hear him out patiently. It can be difficult to remain silent in the face of criticism, but an over emotional or aggressive response will only infuriate the already troubled buyers.

• Allow them to finish their concerns without cutting them midway. This does not imply that you stay completely silent on the other line. Instead, choose the soft words, like “Hmm, Ok, Alright” etc. Make notes during the conversations. Note down the questions that you wish to ask them as this can help you understand the problem better.

• This not only keeps you active during the call but also helps in reassuring the client that you are paying attention to his issues and are bothered by them. Do not pose difficult questions right at the start of the call. It is essential that you allow them a fair chance of telling their part of the story before beginning the usual probing.

• More than often, the agents are caught up in finding the details about the previous interactions of the customer or the purchase history in the database of the cloud contact center software. As a result, they lose their focus from the conversation.

• Hence, it is imperative that the organization chooses an outbound telemarketing software that has a simple interface and is easy to navigate with shortcuts for notepad, recording the interaction and purchase history of the buyer. This ensures that the buyer gets the undivided attention of the caller and the representative is also easily able to handle both the client as well as the application.

2. Empathize

• Often the anger of the customer is not because of the product but because of the helplessness that he is surrounded with. It is essential that you understand his situation and put yourself in his shoes. Only when you know how it feels, will you be able to help them out.

• This will also help you build a bond with the purchasers. Your main goal should be to resolve the issues and provide the client with satisfaction instead of proving the company faultless. Do not argue with the client. He will talk to you only when he feels that you are on his side.

• If you become defensive and use the wrong tone with the purchasers, you will only add to his frustration. Listen to their problem and respond accordingly.

Example: Rix Gym Center contacts probable and existing customers using cloud contact center solutions to inform them about the new fitness training offers as well as to update them about their account. One of their clients had posted on Rix’s social media account saying, “There seems to be some mistake from your end. I have been getting repetitive messages reminding me about renewing my membership form. However, I have cleared all my dues and have already paid the amount for the coming year. Could you please look into the matter?”

• Instead of saying, “Please let us know your membership account number and we shall verify,” the agent responded saying, “I understand it must be frustrating for you to receive repeated messages on an activity that is already performed. Let me look into what can I do for you. Could you please send us across your membership account number so that I can verify whether the payment has been received?”

• In the second instance, the caller recognizes the troubles faced by the purchaser and acknowledges the frustration. This simple trick humanizes the brand and can help you to build a rapport with the purchasers. Empathy goes a long way in reducing the anger of the consumers.

3. Give your Callers the Knowledge

• The agents are the face of the company in the competitive market and it is important that they know everything about the company, the product, and services offered as well as the terms and condition under which the organization operates. If your caller has no knowledge about the basic information, there is no way that he is prepared to handle the complaints of the purchaser.

• More than often, the poor knowledge on part of the representative is a huge put-off and adds to the frustration of the buyer. When they know that your front line executives will not be able to resolve their issue, they do not wish to waste time and often end up asking for escalation to speak to someone who can help them find a resolution with greater clarity.

• Thus, it is essential that you train your agents with basic troubleshoot. Provide them adequate information about the basic problems that the buyers can experience due to the products and also tell them how to resolve them. It is vital that you train your front line executives with the most basic issues as well as ways to solve them.

• More than often, the callers are scared because they do not wish to face an irked buyer. The staff members need to make the caller realize that they are monitoring the conversation and will help them out if the purchaser turns aggressive. The outbound calling software comes with the feature of call barging or call whispering using which the supervisors can bail out the representative if the conversation is taking a drastic turn.

• Example: Vishesh Tours and Travels uses the call center software solutions for small business in order to get in touch with probable travel enthusiasts. The company had trained their reps with the latest hotel offers, the trips that can be personalized depending on the customer as well as how to convince the client to avail the services of the organization. However, they did not coach them on how to deal with customers in case of cancelation of the trip.

• As a result, when the client wanted to ask for a refund of the trip or how to go about with the cancelation process, the callers had no clue. This further agitated the buyers and they had no other option but to wait for someone who ‘knows it all’ about the organization. In order to avoid such messy situations, it is imperative that you train your representatives on every aspect of your business which you think is of any importance to your consumers.

4. Coach the Representatives

• When the client is unhappy with the company and the services offered, they tend to become agitated and, as a result, the complaint conversations are not always smooth. There are chances that the caller can be annoyed with the repetitive frustration aimed at him and can hence become impolite with the purchasers. This will not only result in customer dissatisfaction but will also cast your company in a negative light.

• Hence, it is vital that you train your executives on how to handle the complaints gracefully and ensure that the customers have a speedy resolution. Preparing the executives to handle such situations will help streamline the customer experience of having their issues dealt with. This will also help in generating a consistent way of approaching the clients when they are dissatisfied.

• The outbound calling solution gives the supervisor a chance to record the interactions. Play those conversations where the buyer was upset with the organization and see how the agent reacts to their problems. The senior staff can also act as the purchasers and create tough situations for the callers to react. This will help them when they have to deal with difficult customers.

• Role plays can be a great method to explain to the executives on how they should handle the customer and help him in find an apt solution for their problem without losing their cool anytime. When the executive is able to handle the client with ease, the requests for escalations will also come down.

5. Proactive Approach

• Time is of great essence when it comes to handling criticism. When dealing with complaints, it is important that the agents apply quick thinking and react in the fastest time possible. Often, the callers do this in the case of the social media complaints. As the issue is out on a public forum, many organizations advise the representatives to deal with those problems first. However, it is important that you deal with all the complaints on an urgent basis.

• Any kind of delay in the response can further agitate the buyer. If you do not have a resolution ready for the purchaser, it is important that you, at least, acknowledge his concern. This sends a message that you know about his problem and are working towards finding a closure to it.

• This shows that you are concerned about the clients and their satisfaction matters to you. The consumers can be agitated if they do not know what is happening. Hence, it is vital that you keep them in the know. Maintain a time frame and let the purchasers know when you can get back to them.

• Ensure that the cloud based call center solution is integrated with the major social networking platforms where your majority target audience is active so that you never miss a mention or a comment. As a result, there is no delay in responding to any of their queries.

• There are chances that the buyer might raise his concern on one of your blogs. Make sure that your agents respond to the comments on the blog as well as to any complaint mail. Sync the cloud customer service software both to the blog as well as the official consumer service mail Id of the company.

• It is vital that you display a positive attitude when responding to the complaints of the customer. Your words should reflect your concern. Do not be vague. “Let me find that for you,” or “Let me see what we can do about the problem at hand” is a better response than a mere “I don’t know.”

 6. Apologize

• The majority of the times, the customers are unhappy with the company because their expectations were not met. As a result, it is vital that you apologize for the inconvenience caused to them. Even if you are not at fault, saying sorry will put on you in the good books of the customer. More than often, a simple apology can help in reducing the frustration of the buyer.

• The fact that you are apologizing gives a sign to the purchaser that you care about his feelings and will make attempts to resolve the issue. Most of the times, the major frustration of the buyer is that they do not know who can help them solve their problem and who can answer their questions with full honesty. When they know the agent is there to help him out and is apologetic about the entire situation, half of their anger is diffused.

• However, it is essential that you express regret without blaming anyone. Do not pass the buck to some other department, caller or the client himself. Though you may not be directly linked with the problem, the fact that you are the face of the organization makes you responsible for the inconvenience caused.

7. Offer a Solution and Negotiate

• Explore the options and look at what you can do for the consumer. Often, asking the client as to what an acceptable solution is can help you reach a conclusion. The majority of the times, the buyers are ready to help you and putting the ball in their court makes them more understanding of your situation. At the same time knowing their opinion can help you look at the resolution from a new perspective. Thus, it is a win-win situation for both the parties.

• However, if the resolution is not according to the terms of the company, look at the other options that you can utilize. It is imperative that you explain to the customers why their suggestion cannot be used. Try and tell them the importance of following the strict procedural pattern. Make them aware of the other possible remedies that you have in mind.

• It is vital that you negotiate a resolution and bring the client on the same page with what you can genuinely offer at the moment. Keeping the customer informed and taking his permission before any action makes the purchase believe that he is in control of the situation. This further helps in strengthening the bond between both the parties.

Example: A client who had made an online purchase from a boutique did not like the quality of the dress. He sent an email to the same on the official customer service mail Id of the organization. A subsequent call was made using the contact details stored in the outbound call center software.

• The caller apologized for the inconvenience and asked the buyer what he considered as an effective resolution. The purchaser wanted a refund of the entire amount. However, returning the amount was not a part of the company policy. The executive explained the same to the consumer saying that it was clearly mentioned in the terms and conditions of the purchase.

• The agent then proposed another solution in which the customer can choose any other product from the website that falls under the similar price range and the same will be delivered to him without any extra delivery charges. The customer agreed to this and the caller processed a request to collect the earlier purchase back on account of dissatisfaction.

However, providing a resolution is not the end of handling the criticism. It is important that you have a follow-up with them a few days later to see whether they are satisfied and if all is well. The technologically advanced call center software solutions will generate automatic alerts reminding the agent about checking upon the buyer. This makes them feel valued and also helps in developing a positive customer experience.

There is not getting around the complaints or criticism of the buyers no matter which industry you belong to. However, by using the above steps, by deploying the best call center software and by training your callers to review the issues with the client, you can turn these challenges into constructive opportunities to perform better.