Customer complaints in a customer service role are tough to deal with. Even with everything going right, a customer can still complain.
Don’t take it personally
Complaints from a customer can happen if their expectations were not met (which is why it’s so important to set them). The important thing to remember is to not take it personally. Everyone has issues, and typically it’s not the agents fault but with the product, service or it’s the situation they are in.
Listen and empathize
Once a customer starts unloading their frustrations on you, it is important not to respond or be defensive. Listen intently putting yourself in their place and make note of what it would take for you to be happy if your roles reversed.
Never take the blame
Once the conversation turns back to you, apologize for the situation and the position they are in but never take the blame, it can have unintended consequences to you and the business.
Give them reassurance
Find some common ground with the customer and make reassurances that the issue was unintended. The customer should know that the situation / issue will be resolved and reassure them that you will define a step by step action plan to deal with the issue.
Make an action plan and find the solution
Once the customer is at a good place and ready to move forward, make an action plan. Think of a complaint as a customer lost in a dark cave. An action plan is a map of that dark cave guiding them through the darkness to the light at the end. Defining a step by step plan of how to move forward is imperative in order to set expectations for you and the customer. Once the plan is defined, make sure you stick to it ensuring that the solution is accepted by the customer.
What it all means by the numbers
A customer will share their terrible customer service experience with 8-16 others and 10% will tell more than 20 others. To make matters worse, 91% of unhappy customers will not purchase your product or service again. Ouch. But there is some good news, 82-95% will stay with you after that bad experience if you make a genuine effort to fix their problem.