As an online business owner, you will inevitably experience customer complaints and disputes, regardless of how good your product or customer service is.
Given the influence that the internet and social media platforms now have on people’s purchasing decisions, it is essential to deal with all customer complaints effectively and swiftly.
You need to avoid situations where disputes escalate to bring negative attention directed to your business.
While dealing with customer complaints can be tricky as human emotions can be unpredictable, these strategies can help to ensure a favorable outcome for your business and your clients.
Implement A Policy for Handling Complaints
One of the fundamental tools that every business needs are a set of guidelines for dealing with issues regarding customer dissatisfaction.
Being prepared ahead can be the key to converting a disgruntled client into a lifelong loyal customer.
When creating a customer service policy, take your brand message into account. Whether you wish to portray your willingness to go above and beyond for every customer or your dedication to ensuring that clients get the best out of your products, your complaints-handling policy should stay true to your brand’s vision and mission.
However, ensure that there is a certain amount of wiggle room in your policy, thereby allowing customer relations agents to offer unique solutions that will best suit a customer’s issue.
When you come across a less than satisfactory comment about your company, it is normal to feel hurt or uncomfortable. After all, no one wants to be told that their service or product is not good enough.
However, before you respond to any complaint, you must first remove your feelings from the equation.
Whether the client is calmly presenting their issues or being rude and aggressive, keep your cool and remain calm and respectful.
Do not think of disputes as personal attacks; instead, see them as avenues to prove your company’s dedication to ensuring customer satisfaction.
Listen and Understand
Learning about the difficulties that a person has with your service or product will help you determine the best possible way to solve their problems. Hence, you need to be attentive and listen or read to understand your customer’s plight.
Resist the urge to argue with them, even when their claims are wrong. Give them space to vent their frustrations and note key points in their messages.
Ask for clarifications and paraphrase their comments to show that you are actively listening. Use simple and courteous words to interact with your buyers to avoid aggravating them further.
While accepting responsibility for a buyer’s dissatisfaction can be difficult, especially when you are not at fault, it is essential to diffuse a potentially damaging situation and earn the customer’s trust.
Thank the person for bringing their issues to your notice and apologize for any inconvenience you might have caused them.
However, if the dispute is nothing more than a form of defamation against your company, you do not need to take responsibility for it; instead, dispel the accusations with non-ambiguous statements, including evidence to support your claim.
Handle Returns and Refunds Properly
In cases where buyers receive defective products or do not receive any product at all, you might need to request returns and issue refunds.
Have a policy on how your business would handle returns and refunds, for example, whether you will cover the cost of shipping and warranty periods for your goods. Ensure that this policy is featured on your store website in a conspicuous location.
As an eCommerce store, you receive payments primarily through credit or debit cards and payment gateways; hence, you can be susceptible to credit card chargebacks.
To avoid losing your money to illegitimate chargebacks:
- Keep a close eye on your payment services
- Avoid inappropriate deductions from customers who have unsubscribed from your service.
- Look out for fraudulent activities and report anything that looks suspicious to the proper authorities.
- Ensure that your account statement is up to date at all times.
Offer Relevant Solutions
Before you offer a solution to a complaint, ensure that it is relevant to the person’s issues. For instance, send informational materials and how-to videos to a person that is not getting the best out of your products.
You can offer gift cards or discounts on their next purchase to people that are not satisfied with your service.
If you cannot offer a solution to a client’s problem, explain why your company can not help them and give them alternatives or provide links to tools that can be useful to them.
Use Complaints Constructively
One good thing that can be derived from consumers’ complaints is the exposure to areas in your business and products that can benefit from some fine-tuning.
Think of disputes as feedback that you can use to address problem areas in your business and devise methods for increasing customer satisfaction.
Keep minutes of customers’ complaints and search the internet for mentions of your business. Compile a list of issues that come up frequently and tackle them effectively.
How you resolve your customers’ disputes will determine whether you will gain an ardent follower or a scorned enemy. Handle people with kindness and do your absolute best to provide solutions to their problems.
If possible, follow up by sending a message to the client to inquire about their experience with your customer service.
You can also provide a small incentive to show that your business prioritizes its clients and are committed to their satisfaction.