When it comes to customer complaints management, quick fixes are never the best resort. With that said however, there are ways to speed things up without taking short cuts or resorting to tacky solutions that focus more on your reputation than your customer’s concerns. Every single company needs a plan on how to deal with complaints – no matter how small or large, and whatever the industry. From large corporates to tiny ‘mom and pop’ takeaway outlets, if you are in the business of dealing with customers, you need to know what to do when they are less than happy. There are some things you can do to handle complaints smartly and quickly, while still keeping everything geared towards best practices. Keep reading to find out how you can boost your customer complaints management strategies with a few simple tweaks.
Speeding Up Your Customer Complaints Management Processes
Are you handling complaints the right way? Have a look at these tips to see whether your complaints management strategies can do with some fine-tuning…
- Phone the customer, no matter how they contacted you in the first place. Phone calls are fast and private, with the added benefit of one-on-one communication to avoid misunderstandings.
- Ensure that you have well-defined procedures for complaints. You need a service strategy that covers complaints across all channels. This should include customer history, complaints, service failure points and an engagement policy that defines the best way to respond to customer feedback.
- Train your staff to resolve complaints properly. Give you sales and customer care staff all the resources and help they need to effectively handle complaints right away. Verbal and written skills are essential, while communication, problem solving and people skills are also important.
- Take all customer feedback seriously, all the time. The worst approach to customer complaints management is treating complaints and feedback lightly or not responding at all. Calming customers down is only part of the process – the root causes of complaints need to be resolved too.
- Empower your staff to focus on customer experience. This is something that should be done from grassroots level upwards. Talking to customers, understanding their needs and concerns, and then aiming to address these concerns is something that every employee should be able to do.
- Use social media monitoring to pick up potential issues. Tracking mentions of your company on social media platforms is a pro-active way to spot issues before they go viral and become bigger and harder to resolve. Track products, brands and all terms related to your company, and unify your call centre to your social presence and other contact channels for better customer communication options.
- Identify and categorise customers making the complaints. By organising complaints according to each customer, you will have a clearer history and better ability to assist. An automated customer complaints management software tool is a great way to make this simpler.
- Automate acknowledgement responses. For email complaints, setting up an automated reply stating that the email has been received is essential. Including a tracking number that the customer can use for future communication makes this step even more effective.
- Include real-time routing in your processes. Processes should be automated too, with real-time routing that helps to escalate issues to the right department and/or people, after ranking complaints according to level of importance.
- Monitor social media channels wisely. While it sounds crazy, social channels need 24 hour monitoring to prevent viral disasters. As the digital world knows no boundaries, varying time zones mean that people are always active at any given time of day. Organise rotating teams and schedules, provide employees with smartphones or laptops and ensure that there is always someone on hand to deal with followers.
At the end of the day, these steps may seem drastic or time-consuming before you stop to consider how much time, effort and costs you could save in the long run. Rather than face the risk of lost customers and poor sales, get your customer complaints management system set up so that it runs smoothly and effectively at all times.