Customer Experience News & Trends

Customers said it: ‘You suck at handling our complaints!’

Customers still think companies do a pretty miserable job of handling their complaints, according to the latest research.

Just one in five customers are completely satisfied with how their complaints are handled and resolved, found the National Customer Rage study.

Customers call companies, then have to call back several times and re-explain their problems, and they often still don’t have their issues fixed — and that’s why they aren’t happy, according to Mary Jo Bitner, executive director at the Center for Services Leadership at the W.P. Carey School of Business, which conducted the study.

In addition, the poor response to customer complaints leaves a lot of money on the table. Researchers estimate that the 50 million Americans who had a problem with a product or service in the past year could account for $58 billion in lost future sales.

3 ways to do better

Since you won’t likely ever eliminate every reason customers find to complain — and even if you did, they’d find new reasons tomorrow — try these tips for producing better complaint responses:

  • Acknowledge that something is wrong. The issue that has a customer up in arms may only be a problem in her mind — but it’s very real to her. So anyone dealing with the complaint must acknowledge the pain point. This can happen without accepting blame by saying, “I’m sorry this has happened and you’ve been inconvenienced.”
  • Reassure the customer. Make the customer comfortable and confident quickly by letting her know you can help. Say, “I’m sure I can help. Let’s work together to sort this out.”
  • Be fast. The quicker an apology is given and the issue is resolved, the quicker the customer will forget it ever happened.

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