The complete guide to complaint handling

If you’re wondering how you can go about complaint handling effectively, you’re in the right place. In this guide, we’re going to explain everything you need to know.

If you’d like to learn more about how Sigma Connected can help your business to handle complaints, our team is always at hand to help. Get in touch today!

What is complaint handling?

Complaint handling does what it says on the tin: it is the customer service process of dealing with and resolving complaints, typically from customers. When a customer complains, you must address that complaint and handle it in the best way possible – this is achieved via effective complaint handling.

Complaint handling focuses on settling customer complaints, finding out why customers are unsatisfied, and identifying opportunities to improve your products and services, as well as customer experiences. This process enables you to discover and find solutions for any issues customers may have with your products and services. 

Ultimately, if you want to deal with customers more effectively and create a better customer experience effective complaint handling is extremely essential.

How to analyse customer complaints

When you receive a customer complaint, the first thing you should do is analyse it. It is a huge part of complaint handling, so you must know how to do it effectively.

When a customer complains, they are expressing a problem regarding your product or service, or potentially your customer service. There are a few things you should consider before acting on a complaint, such as keeping in mind that not all complaints should be handled equally.

Analysing customer complaints involves categorising the complaint and considering multiple factors. Once you’ve acknowledged the complaint, you’ll need to analyse:

  • Has the complaint been recorded?
  • Has it happened before?
  • What other information is required?
  • Is there a pattern to the complaint?
  • How frequently does the complaint arise?
  • Is this complaint important, and why?

By asking yourself these questions, you have more insight into what specifically the complaint is about. If a similar complaint has arisen before, you’ll have a better idea of how to handle the new complaint. You must analyse the complaint before you respond to the customer and ask them more questions. With a better understanding of the issue, you can address the complaint more appropriately.

6-step process for effective complaint handling

For the most effective approach to complaint handling, the Sigma Connected team recommends you follow this simple yet proven six-step process.

Step 1. Listen and understand

When a consumer contacts you with a concern, it typically means that they want to be acknowledged and listened to. Understanding their concern will make them feel more valued.

So make sure you take the time to listen to and comprehend what the customer has to say. Ensure the  customer understands you’re listening to their concerns, emphasise to them that you are taking the problem seriously.

Step 2. Ask the right questions

Asking questions is paramount when you receive a customer complaint. You need to know all the important details regarding the complaint and why it has been made. Don’t pressure the customer or bombard them with an unsettling amount of questions – it’s not an interrogation.

Gather all the details as you listen to the customer to fully understand their complaint. You can then begin gradually seeking clarification of the issue with a few questions.

Start a genuine and honest conversation with the customer. Being polite, paying attention, thanking them for their time, and apologising will help win your customers’ confidence.

Step 3. Identify the type of customer

Another important factor of the complaints handling process is identifying the type of customer you are dealing with. Not all customers are the same.

Different customers have varied behaviours. You might deal with customers who don’t want to complain, customers who are worried about informing you that you’re unhappy with something, customers who contact you often, and more. Knowing the type of customer can help you determine your approach.

Step 4. Make responding the priority

You can take several steps but, ultimately, responding in a timely manner is the most important. With the evolution of social media and brand presence online, customers have come to expect faster turnaround from brands when it comes to being heard.

Whether you can or can’t resolve the issue, or whether or not the complaint is reasonable, if you don’t respond, the situation is going to escalate. Not all customers demand a refund, replacement, or a reaction, they often just want an explanation.

If something appears wrong with their purchase, they’re going to turn to you for help and clarification. Respond promptly and ensure your response is written with honesty.

Step 5. Present a solution, and verify the complaint has been resolved

More often than not, when a customer makes a complaint, they want some form of a solution, be it a descriptive explanation or a product replacement.

It’s crucial to confirm that the solution truly fixed the problem once you’ve determined the primary reason for the customer’s complaint, established a solution, and provided it to the customer.

If you have a solution, present it to the customer and let them know you have tried it and it works. If you have no solution or the complaint is not reasonable, explain to them why this may be and ask them if there is anything else they would like you to do to help.

Step 6: Log the complaint

If you receive several complaints or messages from various customers who all have the same issue, this obviously represents a wider issue within the business. To keep track of individual instances or repeat occurrences, it’s therefore important to track and keep a record of them.

Logging complaints allows you to find the root cause of an issue and also determine what needs to be done should a similar complaint crop up in the future.

Why customer feedback can be good for your business

Customers who are dissatisfied provide businesses with useful input and opportunities for development, which shouldn’t be ignored. Customer feedback can provide insightful advice that can help you grow your company. You need them to understand where the business is underperforming and how you can improve to make customers more satisfied.

How Sigma Connected can help

At Sigma Connected, we have extensive complaint management expertise and can help your business respond to customer enquiries or concerns of all kinds, every step of the way.

Our team can help you with your customer complaints or perhaps handle them for you entirely. We rely on our in-depth knowledge of the subject to achieve high levels of resolution and uphold positive relationships with both potential and current clients.

If you want to learn more about how our team can help your business to manage complaints, get connected with Sigma Connected today.


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