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How to deal with complaints

The very nature of working within a customer service centre means that you are likely to come across all sorts of situations and this unfortunately means you are bound to sometimes find yourself in circumstances where people are not happy with the service or solution being offered to them.

The thought of handling complaints can seem daunting at first, but there is no need to panic, so long as you remember a few simple rules.

It may seem a strange thought, but complaints should actually be seen as a good thing as it helps a business recognise areas in need of improvement. Many have the perception that a complaint signifies a breakdown in the relationship between a customer and a company, but this view is a misguided one. The customer has willingly decided to set aside some time to let you know they have a problem, meaning that not only is there still a good relationship there, but it can even be strengthened if the complaint is handled well.

Many customers that are not happy with a service will simply not bother to get in touch and will just sign up to a competitor instead, so it is worth bearing in mind that the relationship with the customer can be repaired.

Customers submitting a complaint want to feel as though they are being treated with empathy and often want their situation resolved, rather than use the call as an opportunity to shout and scream.

A simple apology can go a long way to diffusing almost any situation, so be sure to offer one as soon as you can, even if it isn't your fault. Passing the blame around to another member of the team can often be counterproductive as it leads the customer to believe you do not personally care about the problem at hand, which will understandably lead to the situation worsening.

By the same token, it is always a good idea to try and put yourself in their position as this will help you to get a better idea as to what will be expected of you in terms of dealing with their complaint.

The customer needs to feel as though you are on their side and that you sympathise with their situation. Even if you think they're being difficult, it is important to view their complaint as a valid point.

One of the best ways in which to empathise with a customer is to ask as many question about their issue as possible. Find out how they would like to see it resolved and what course of action they would like to see taken.

Never draw your own conclusions about a customer's situation as this can sometimes be hugely wide of the mark and you will risk worsening the situation further.

If you are unable to deal with a customer's complaint then make sure you can pass the query on to another member of the team that can. If you have followed the previous steps, then there should not be any problems, but you should make it clear that you are passing them on to someone more knowledgeable about the best way to solve their problem.

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