12 Steps To Turn Customer Complaints Into Positive Experiences

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No matter how focused your business is on customer satisfaction, the occasional complaint is inevitable. Whether they occur in person at a physical store or through online channels, these complaints present unique opportunities to turn the situations around and deliver a positive experience.

By actively listening to the customer’s concerns, businesses can demonstrate empathy, foster trust and find effective solutions that resolve the issue at hand and encourage that person to keep coming back. To that end, Young Entrepreneur Council members share a few key actions you can take to address negative feedback and create a positive outcome for the customer—and ultimately, your business.

1. Start With An Apology

Whether you’re dealing with an online or in-store complaint, start off with an apology for the inconvenience caused followed by reassurance that you’ll make things right. Customers complain because they’ve had a poor experience with the solutions you offer, which may cause them to be frustrated. The first thing you should focus on is calming them down to ensure effective communication. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

2. Try To Understand The ‘Why’

When a customer brings up a complaint, one important action to take to help make their experience better is to empathize with their issue. Understand why they are experiencing the current issue and establish trust with them to ensure you can provide a resolution that will leave them satisfied. – Jordan Edelson, Appetizer Mobile LLC

3. Look At The Situation As A Gift

As strange as this may sound, when a customer has a complaint, look at this situation as a gift, as most people who have poor experiences don’t even bother to leave feedback. Connect with the user and find out exactly what you can do to fix the problem. In many cases, turning a negative one-star review into a glowing five-star review doesn’t require much time or effort. – Daman Jeet Singh, FunnelKit

4. Follow An Effective Script

You absolutely need scripts and training for your teams on empathy and how to handle complaints. The No. 1 thing consumers need to feel is heard and believed, and then you need to communicate that you would like to make the situation better. Build a relationship with your audience, especially your complaining audience, through active listening and problem-solving. – Matthew Capala, Alphametic

5. Try The Imago Technique

We practice the Imago technique to de-escalate any complaints. This involves three steps: mirroring, or reflecting back on what the client said, which shows that you are “getting it” and are hearing them; validation, which sounds like, “Anyone would feel that way,” or “It’s totally understandable that you feel that way,”; and empathy, which makes people feel listened to and cared for. – Rachel Beider, PRESS Modern Massage

6. Respond In A Timely Manner

A fast response time is the key to turning a customer complaint into a win. Users are far less likely to work with you if you take several hours or days to respond to their feedback. One way to reduce the risk of this happening is to have a live chat team on your website and social media that can connect with users minutes after they share their thoughts. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC

7. Ask The Customer To Explain In Detail

One action you should take when a customer brings up a concern or complaint is to ask them to explain the situation in detail. Often, the root cause of the problem is easier to figure out if you know what they were doing before things soured. Once you understand where things went wrong, you can find a solution and dramatically improve their experience. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

8. Take Ownership Of The Issue

Taking ownership of the complaint and demonstrating a proactive approach to finding a solution is the best advice I can give for making a customer’s experience better. Deflecting blame or making excuses can make customers feel unheard and undervalued. Actively working to resolve complaints demonstrates integrity and enhances your reputation as a customer-centric business. – Ismael Wrixen, FE International

9. Acknowledge And Follow Up With Action

Acknowledge the customer and follow up with appropriate actions to address their concerns. Acknowledging their concerns and taking action when necessary shows that you value their feedback and take their issue seriously. One thing to keep in mind is to never take complaints personally, but rather as an opportunity that can highlight areas for improvement in your business process or products. – Julian Hamood, Trusted Tech Team

10. Treat The Customer Like A VIP

When a customer brings up a complaint, treat them like a VIP guest, promptly addressing it with urgency. By prioritizing their concerns and taking immediate action, you show that their experience truly matters. This not only resolves their issue but also cultivates a sense of value and trust, ensuring a better overall experience for them and paving the way for a lasting customer relationship. – Adam Preiser, WPCrafter

11. Remain Calm And Composed

Customers complain when they are disappointed and frustrated with your products and services, so it’s important that you maintain your calm and stay composed at such times. Apologize to them sincerely and make sure to take prompt action on the matter. Don’t forget to follow up to find out if their problem was resolved and if they need any further assistance. – Andrew Munro, AffiliateWP

12. Express Appreciation For The Feedback

Although it’s disappointing to listen to customer complaints and deal with negative feedback, these are blessings that you need to accept willingly. Show your appreciation to the customer for bringing it to your notice and listen to their concerns patiently. Let them do the speaking first, and then assure them that you’ll address their concerns immediately, but make sure to stick to your words. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

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