The 7 Most Common Customer Complaints and How to Respond

It is inevitable in every industry. At some point, a customer is going to complain. Dissatisfaction can occur for a wide variety of reasons, some the company’s fault, some stemming from a customer’s misunderstanding, but all need to be resolved in a satisfactory manner. Don’t spurn the customer to do business with a competition, but don’t bend over backwards to right a wrong that is really not your fault. Most of the times, the customer just wants to make sure they’re heard. Here are the 7 most common customer complaints and the best ways to respond.

Complaint: “I’ve been waiting here forever!”

Response: “I realize that, and I really appreciate your patience. We’re doing our best to make sure we get this issue resolved quickly.” Unfortunately, sometimes the customer just has to wait due to a variety of reasons. Acknowledge the fact but don’t blame it on some managerial short-coming like understaffing. Thank them for their patience (which you hope they will begin to implement) and let them know you’re still working hard.

Complaint: “I keep getting shuffled from one person to the next.”

Response: “I apologize for that. Let me personally take care of this for you.” Customers just want straight answers and to feel like their complaints are being dealt with, rather than just passed off. Go the extra mile and it will go a long way to resolving any issues.

Complaint: “You don’t seem to care.”

Response: “I do care, and I am going to do what I can to make this right.” This is the #1 customer complaint. Actions speak louder than words. If a customer catches a whiff of apathy, they will be offended. Right the ship by proving you are actively working to resolve their complaint.

Complaint: “I bought your product but it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do.”

Response: “What task do you need done? Let me explain the product’s capabilities.” Maybe the product does what the customer needs, they just don’t know how. Explain how to use the product. If the customer was mistaken, offer to let them return the product and exchange it for one more in line with what they need.

Complaint: “I talked to someone else and they were no help.”

Response: “I’m sorry you had that experience. Explain the situation to me and let’s see if I can be of more help.” Customers may not be satisfied with the service from others at your company. Do your best to show it was an isolated incident, but do not bad-mouth your co-worker or peer.

Complaint: “I haven’t heard a darn thing!”

Response: “I apologize, we handle many issues at a time. I promise we will keep you update when we know more.” If issues are particularly thorny and take time to solve, customers want to be kept up-to-date on what’s being done to resolve the issue at hand. Be sure to proactively stay in contact when new updates arise.

Complaint: “Well, your competitors said they would do this…”

Response: “We’ll match it.” Don’t lose a customer over something small the competition offers that you currently do not. Also use this as a learning opportunity to stay ahead of the curve regarding customer service policies.

Joseph Gustav is a guest blogger for Pounding the Pavement and a writer on the subject of earning your High School Diploma at Home for the Guide to Career Education.

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