Customer Complaints: Common Types and Resolutions

Customer complaints are one of the most valuable sources of information for improvement in an organisation. They should be viewed as golden nuggets because there’s simply no better way to help improve your customer complaints processes. 

In addition to this, handling customer complaints well can help to prevent customer churn and it’s a great way of revealing your audience’s pain points. And managing these in a positive and proactive manner will help strengthen your brand reputation, while at the same time, leading to a better and more personal relationship with your brand. 

In this article, we cover what customer complaints are, share some examples and tips for resolving them, as well as offer one solution that can really help you and your team manage customer complaints better to help improve your business. Let’s get started. 

What are customer complaints? 

Although there may be many types of these, customer complaints can be briefly defined as a customer’s verbal or written expression of dissatisfaction with a business’ products, services, or processes. When they complain, customers are expecting a speedy resolution to their pain point in question. As such, your customer service team should be well-prepared to handle these complaints professionally. 

10 examples of customer complaints

Although one never knows that type of complaint they will receive, most of these complaints can be divided into 10 categories of typical customer service problems. With this in mind, below we explore some of the most common customer complaints and share some customer complaint examples with you so that you know what to expect. 

1. Waiting too long to be served

The situation: Whether it’s by telephone or an online chat, your customers have taken the time out of their busy schedules to reach out to your company. Nothing will exacerbate their frustration more than being put on hold or having to wait in a long queue to be served and have their issue resolved.

The fix: In this instance, you may need to carefully study when your customer service department’s busiest times are. When you do this, you will notice peaks and troughs and you should reallocate team members from quieter periods to ensure that higher volume calls or online traffic is handled by a sufficient number of staff.

2. No human touch

The situation: Many organisations are reliant on AI and automated chatbots to help customers navigate websites in efforts to handle frequently asked questions or issues. However, these tools and technologies are not always able to resolve the issue and when a customer is unable to speak to a human, that can lead to their frustration.

The fix: Make sure that you have an omnichannel customer service, which means that conversations from social media, chatbots, email, or telephone calls can be resumed seamlessly irrespective of the channel, while ensuring that you have a team of real humans to help offer solutions or compensation, where necessary.

3. A grumpy customer service representative

The situation: No one likes to speak to people who are unsupportive and the same is true for handling customer complaints. This will only make the customer feel worse and agitate them, leaving them with negative feelings about your business.

The fix: A solution to this problem is to ensure that your customer service team goes through empathy training and that when you hire such representatives, that you only choose those that are caring, results-oriented and who seek to resolve issues in satisfactory ways.

4. Being bounced around, having to repeat oneself

The situation: The situation here is that customers are bounced around from one support agent to the next and they have to repeat the same information over and over. Not only does this rile them up against your business even more, it further worsens their frustration.

The fix: Using the right tools and technology to ensure that customer profiles are in one place and accessible by all agents who can view the customer’s history and information is a good bet for resolving this issue.

5. Customer service hours that don’t suit the customer

The situation: If the customer wants to complain about your company at midnight on any random Wednesday, they should be able to do so and get immediate support. However, many organisations today still do not have 24/7 customer support or at least technology that can help drive the complaint resolution process further until a chat agent is available. 

The fix: Using chatbots and offering frequently asked questions on your site are a must if you don’t yet have a 24/7 customer support system in place. 

6. Too much information or nowhere to find it

The situation: Customers who are trying to find a solution to their problems themselves will often look online for information. However, this information can either be too much, too complex, outdated or nowhere to be found.

The fix: Make sure your online presence and resources are continuously updated. There are tools that can help you flag informative articles or resources that are outdated so that they can be rewritten and offered as a way of self-resolution to the problem.

7. No variety in channels and platforms

The situation: Every customer has different preferences in terms of the way in which they would like to contact you. Some may prefer to speak to a call centre representative while others prefer no human interaction and would rather opt for chat or email. Not offering variety in terms of channels and platforms can be a further cause of customer frustration.

The fix: Study the channels and platforms that your customers prefer to use. When you are aware of where the bulk of their complaints come from, you can allocate more resources to those platforms to ensure faster response times and speedier resolutions to their problem.

8. Product or service dissatisfaction

The situation: Sometimes it’s the case that your customers simply do not like your product or service after purchasing it. Instead of being viewed as a criticism, this is a way for you to improve.

The fix: The fix in terms of this type of complaint is to listen attentively to your customers and try to implement their recommendations or ideas that arise as part of their complaint. This is an excellent way to bolster your offering and provide a superior product or service in the future. 

9. No resolution from the get go

The situation: Customers don’t have hours to spare on calling your business to seek a remedy to their problem. They want a speedy resolution right away with minimum effort.

The fix: In such cases, your customer support agents should have a platform where they can immediately see the customer’s profile and history and attempt to resolve the issue immediately. If this is not possible, it’s advisable to request permission from the customer to follow up with them when appropriate in order to resolve their issue.

10. No follow up

The situation: The last type of customer complaint is related to what was mentioned above. Although some cases of complaints will require a follow up, the worst thing you can do for your customer after promising you will carefully study their case is not to follow up at all. This is unprofessional and can leave you with some nasty reviews on quality review websites.

The fix: Ensure that your customer support team is well-trained and that there is accountability in terms of them following up with the customer until the problem is resolved. Make sure that your customer agrees to the follow up, ask them when it’s convenient to do so and be sure to find out which channel they prefer to be contacted on. Also worth noting is giving the customer a reference number or a ticket so that they have proof of having contacted your business.

Customer complaint resolution tips

Complaints don’t have to mean negative situations as most of them are resolvable. Some of our tips for customer complaint resolution include the following:

Tip 1: Train your team

Make sure your team knows all the processes, channels and potential problems that can arise and how to handle each type of complaint while also ensuring that they have access to the right tools to help ease their work. Also important is knowing when, how and to who to escalate a situation internally.

Tip 2: Engage in active and reflective listening

Active listening will help avoid misunderstandings and miscommunication. It’s one of the most surefire ways of finding the right solution to the customer’s problem quickly. By being reflective, you are also confirming the problem as well as finding ways to figure out what can be done about it. 

Tip 3: Don’t be afraid to apologise and show gratitude

Sometimes, simply acknowledging that your business is in the wrong is sufficient so admit mistakes when they are made and offer speedy solutions. Also use the right tone of voice (caring and empathetic) and thank the customer for their communication of the issue. 

Tip 4: Offer solutions that count

Sometimes, a customer will need their product serviced. In other cases, your service may not have been delivered on par with your usual standards. Offering compensation or a resolution that is commensurate with the problem is advisable. 

Tip 5: Engage in recordkeeping

Every customer complaint should be filed in a single system that is easily accessible to every member of your team. This means that even if one employee is going off shift, the next one can pick up where they left off. Having the right tools for this is essential. It’s important to ensure that you also have customer profiles and detailed records of every customer’s comments or complaints for better follow ups. It’s also vital to ensure that relevant details move with the customer across channels. There are tools to help with this as well. 

Tip 6: Don’t forget to follow up

It’s also important that once a solution has been found and implemented, that you follow up to see if the customer is satisfied. This 360-degree process will give you a lot of valuable information while keeping the customer happy.

Tip 7: Have an easily accessible knowledge base

Some customers prefer to look for solutions to their problems themselves. This necessarily means that your product or user guides, your frequently asked questions or any other articles or helpful information should be updated and easily accessible. 

Tip 8: Create realistic expectations

You should be honest with your customers about how long it may take for their issue to be resolved or how much you can realistically do to help them. It’s a big no-no to offer solutions that you can’t actually implement. That’s why creating reasonable expectations is highly recommended. 

Tip 9: Study your complaint data (and learn from it)

Sometimes, there will be a build up of customer complaints at the same time regarding a similar issue. This should immediately send a warning sign to you that something is wrong. You’ll thus need to allocate the right team members and resources to address spikes in complaints and make the necessary adjustments to ensure your customer service team is handling the issues correctly. Once you’ve moved with the flow, it’s also important to glean key takeaways from every complaint and ensure that you carefully study these to see where your processes can be improved upon.

To find out more about this topic, check out our helpful article on complaint management and how to deal with customer complaints.

ServiceOS — Your complaint management system

Customer relationship management is best handled through the right customer relationship management system. And as part of this relationship management is the essential aspect of handling customer complaints the right way each and every time. For this purpose, you need not only the right online booking system but also the right complaints management system to ensure that your team and customers are better able to communicate with each other to find workable solutions to their problems.

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