When customers have complaints about your business, it is wise to listen carefully to what their complaints are. No matter the industry you are from, complaints are going to happen, but the essential thing to keep in mind is how you address these roadblocks. You must always find a way to streamline the customer service experience your business is providing. In this piece, we will discuss five usual customer complaints, and provide you with some insight on how you can address them productively.

  1. Long waiting time while on hold: One of the metrics measured in answering services/call centers, is the Average Time on Hold (ATH). Now, if a customer spends too long on hold, which is above two minutes on average, the customer is likely to hand up and not call again. This means that you may have lost a potential client or the continued support of an active one.
    • How to resolve this issue: Long hold times can be an issue, it can mean that your reception team is under the pressure of call overflow. If that is the case, your business should consider getting some aid in handling calls. Be it by staffing up, or if you are in a financial pinch, you can always find an answering service to help. They offer the same services as an in-office receptionist, but at a fraction of the cost. However, if overflow isn’t the issue, you can also consider adopting new technologies that streamline the process, nevertheless, it is essential to prioritize the human element of interactions with the customers.
  2. Rude or uninterested service representatives: Some customers won’t get along with your service representatives, most of the time it is by associating the lack of a resolution to their issue with disinterest from the rep. Regardless, you’ll find that there will emerge a situation that has nothing to do with assumption. Regardless of where the fault comes from, your business reputation shouldn’t take a hit to its reputation due to this.
    • How to resolve the issue: It is important to instill a need to provide above-and-beyond customer service on behalf of your reps, especially when facing a dissatisfied customer. What we want is to prevent customer churn in the long run. If a customer reports an issue with a rep, management should investigate it always. Nevertheless, use these moments as a means to instruct and help prevent situations of this sort. If these issues continue, then proper discipline protocols should take place.
  3. Inability to speak with a representative: Make sure that if your business relies on automated services, you always have an alternative to be transferred to a live representative. Going around in circles within a system can make your customers antsy and irritated.
    • How to resolve the issue: It’s always a good idea to offer various alternatives of communication with your business. Make sure to have the necessary personnel to handle these channels with ease and can resolve customer issues on the first call.  
  4. Representatives with insufficient knowledge of services: When your reps have little or contradicting knowledge about your services, it serves as a red flag for your business credibility. It shows poor staff training, and patience wears thin when customers find themselves saying the same story again and again as they are being bounced around in internal transfers.
    • How to resolve the issue: Be mindful of having the necessary systems and technology in place that can be tracked and easily update any information your representatives need. Not having these in place, gives wiggle room for long hold patterns to emerge along with incorrect internal transfers. Update scripts with the right information, or have a ticketing system that connects customer information across channels.
  5. Hidden information and costs: Tacked on fees are no laughing matter, customers will feel taken advantage of, especially if they add up. Most customers abandon a business’s services if they find themselves with unexpected fees, and will actively voice their opinion on your services on your social media platforms. It can turn sour if they decide to complain to institutions such as the Better Business Bureau.
    • How to resolve the issue: Make sure that, as a business, you have all your terms and conditions readily available to your customers on a single web platform. Make it easy to identify overage fees, late billing fees, holiday surcharges, and any other fee that is part of your services. Relying on a drip pricing strategy will prove to be more of a hassle than an asset in the long run.

     Along with what kind of likely customer complaint you are to find along the road, it is important to establish strategies on how to handle these types of complaints. Keep in mind that when facing customer complaints, they need to always be addressed calmly. These complaints are not a personal matter, so place emotions aside and seek which alternative is best to solve the issue at hand. Be ready to listen carefully to your customer’s needs, and ask questions that will get you to the heart of the problem. Seek where the fault may lie, and always avoid blaming the customer.  

     Make sure to offer an apology that is appropriate to the situation, and more importantly, make sure the issue is solved in that call. Your team members should be given a pathway for resolutions, meaning they should have the ability to make decisions when handling these calls. They can offer refunds, discounts, or even special deals that might be needed. More importantly, document these complaints, especially intricate ones, not only will it serve as a guide if similar complaints arise later on, but complicated complaints need the paper trail as proof of how they were handled by your business. Now, we may think it ends here, but there is one final step to this process, after getting the resolution make sure to follow up with the customer in subsequent days. It doesn’t have to be via a call, it can be via email, their feedback at this point is important in evaluating the resolution process.  With the right combination of strategies, resources, and personnel, your business can turn an issue into an opportunity for growth. Complaints will happen, as a business, it is our job to be able to handle them with grace.



~F. Hernandez