Convert Customer Complaints Into Compliments: Here’s How


Aniruddh Parmar

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: May 21, 2021

Every time an unhappy customer approaches you, do you immediately start panicking? You are not alone. Many companies dread the disgruntled customers.

But instead, it’s a big opportunity for businesses. Customer complaints open the doors of direct communication. It’s a chance for you to change the customer’s mind and turn them into a promoter of your business. But it also means that any slight negligence and you may lose a customer.

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So how can you convert your biggest fear into the window of opportunity? Before we get there, let’s talk about why customer complaint matters.

Why Does Customer Complaint Matter?

Usually, our first reaction to any customer complaint is to feel angry and not give any importance to it. We might dismiss it, thinking that it’s just one customer. That’s where we go wrong.

A customer complaint is a means of knowing what went wrong. Whether there’s a problem with your product, internal process, or employees, you hear it directly from your customers. As a matter of fact, your most dissatisfied customer is your greatest source of learning.

These complaints act as feedback that can be used to look deeper into the problem and improve them to prevent any further complaints. In fact, when the complaints are handled quickly, customers feel delighted and act as brand advocates. Thus, increasing sales and brand value.

In short, customer service is a great secret weapon which has a huge impact on your business success. A research by American Express 2017 shows that people share their bad experience with an average of 15 people. And, they tell only 11 people as compared to 15 about a good experience.

Furthermore, nine out of ten times a customer will continue doing business even after a bad experience if you fix the situation the first time. You would want that because it could get five times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.

According to Harvard Business Review, fast responses can generate goodwill in all customer service channels. They are more likely to spend more on a future purchase.

To simply put, a customer complaint can become profitable when you resolve their issues. You benefit from happy customer’s advocacy and return business.

So it brings us to our next question:

How Should You Deal With Customer Complaints And Convert Them Into Your Favour?

Now you know how critical it is to handle customer complaints in the right manner. But how do you do it?

I agree that handling customer complaints might look complicated at first. But I’m going to share a few simple approaches that will help you achieve your goal. Here are those five steps:

1. Don’t Show Them Your Fear

The first and foremost rule is never to show your fear while dealing with customer complaints.

Customer complaint fear

People are naturally afraid when an angry customer comes to them. But unless you are prepared to listen to their problem, you won’t be able to understand and resolve it. Sure, you can ignore them and earn some peace for yourself, but it also means that you will lose a customer. Whereas if you resolve a customer complaint, you get a loyal follower in return.

Loyal customers bring more brand value just by word of mouth. So whenever someone comes with a complaint, show them your confidence instead. And prove to them that they have come to the right place.

All you have to do is remain in control of the situation.

2. Earn Your Customer’s Trust

The next step is to earn your customer’s trust. Of course, it involves solving their problem and responding on time. But before that, you need to make them feel like they are dealing with humans and not machines. They want to have a human experience.

So when a customer calls to complain, you first take time to understand their problem. And then, you should tell them how you can resolve it. Here’s how you can build their trust:

  • Don’t Hesitate to Apologize

Research has shown that unhappy customers are more likely to forgive a company if they are offered an apology. In a study, it was found that 45% of customers withdrew their negative review of a company in light of an apology. And only 50% removed their negative evaluation in return of cash payment.

Clearly, customers prefer an apology over the compensation. That’s why don’t be afraid to apologize for a mistake. You would be surprised to know that in many cases, customers are only looking for an acknowledgment of the mistake made and an apology in return. Yet many business houses are hesitant to apologize.

When a customer hears the words, “I am sorry,” it prompts a sort of immediate hunch to forgive. But of course, it doesn’t end there. You need to follow through with a promise to resolve the issue.

  • Try to Listen and Understand

There are reasons why customers complain, and it is important to know why. They might be expecting a fast response, but at the same time, they value quality too. To maintain quality support from all employees, use a standard customer service knowledge base.

For instance, if you are dealing with a complaint in writing, make sure to read it more than twice. This is just to make sure that you haven’t missed any information.

Or if you are talking to a customer over the phone or live chat, repeat the problems in your own words. This will make sure that both the parties stand on the same page and you haven’t missed any crucial points.

It’s a small gesture to show the customer that you are willing to solve their issues.

  • Have a Clear Action Plan

When you have listened to their complaints and it’s a legitimate one, you need to solve it.

If you can fix the problem right away, that’s great. But if that’s not possible, then you should know how to handle the customer’s expectations. It’s never good to leave them hanging without any explanation. Tell them all the steps you are going to take to resolve their issues and never promise what you can’t deliver.

When you talk about follow-through, give them a date they can really get back to you. Don’t set up a false expectation for them.

Furthermore, your support personnel should have the authority to handle the majority of the problems by themselves. Avoid passing your customer onto a series of people and managers so as to avoid inconvenience.

Once the solution has been found, make the necessary changes to the issue so that you don’t receive another complaint.

3. Get Proactive in Handling Customer Complaint

In today’s time, when the internet is on rage, customers have more power than ever. They have different channel means to share their feedback and talk about their experience. Some of which includes forums, comparison websites, social media networks, and more.

And since it is visible to everyone, one single bad experience listed by a customer on these sites can earn a bad name to your business.

That’s why it’s important more than ever to offer quality customer service. Plus, if you don’t take the necessary steps, these complaints can spread like wildfire. You need to be actively engaged in social media with your customers and get proactive in handling their complaints.

We understand that finding complaints online may not be easy. But here are a few suggestions on how you can do it.

  • Look for negative comments on your blog
  • Your brand Facebook page is also an excellent place to look at.
  • People leave reviews on Google business pages too
  • Check if your brand name has been mentioned on Twitter
  • Comments on your Youtube page if you have one

If you respond to their messages online, people will see that you care about them. And that can help you sow long-term relationships with your customers. It will inspire customer loyalty and confidence.

4. Thank Customer for Their Effort

Lastly but not least, never forget to thank your customer. If you want to make your customer feel special, you need to take time to appreciate their effort.

When they come with a complaint, it means that they had some expectations towards your product or services. And they took out time to share their thoughts with you. Research has shown that only 1 out of 26 customers will complain directly to you. The rest will just stop buying from you and switch to another company.

Plus, feeling unappreciated is one of the main reasons why customers switch to another company. That’s why customers who complain are providing you insightful information about your products. Take time to appreciate their effort if you want to convert their complaints into a compliment.

Customer Complaint Checklist

Customer complaint checklist

No matter how good your product or service is, it’s impossible to please every customer. That’s why it’s important to learn the tricks of handling the customer complaints nicely.

Here’s a five-step checklist that you can use next time you hear a complaint. It will help you respond, resolve, and keep your customers happy.

  • Acknowledge the complaint
  • Explain to them the steps of how you will resolve the issue
  • Record and categorize the customer complaint
  • Resolve the complaint as per the company policy
  • Follow up with your customers and make sure they are satisfied

With the advent of social media trends, it’s essential that you monitor complaints regularly. It’s worth reminding that resolve the issue as quickly as possible if you don’t want to lose a customer.

Final Thoughts

Another important thing to note here is that not every customer complaint is an issue. Sometimes, it is just some confusion about the product or service. So you need to be smart enough to differentiate between the two and end their confusion right there.

You should offer them precise information about their doubts and how they can make the most out of your products. Encourage them to ask questions so that you can strike a chord with the customer. They will feel comfortable and may connect with you at a personal level. The customer will know that you are not only here to sell. This will ultimately help build long-term business relationships with them.

To conclude, the way you handle customer complaint makes all the difference. It will either make your customer stay or leave. So the next time you get a consumer complaint, make sure to listen to them and have a follow-up. This follow-up will let you know if they are happy with the way you are handling it.

It will help you create more loyal customers and improve your product or service quality.

Aniruddh is Blogger and Digital Marketing Specialist at SoftwareSuggest. Ready to grab a cup of coffee anytime if you want to talk about tech, cars, businesses or cricket.

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