How To Respond To Customer Complaints: 11 Easy Ways To Do It

calendarSept 27, 2022
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Ineffective service is the number one customer service issue for 27% of Americans. “Lack of speed” is the top service frustration for 2% of Americans. 72% of customers say discussing their problems with many people is bad customer service.

Customer complaints are an inevitable part of business for every brand. Customers typically complain for various reasons, such as inaccurate information, disappointment, faulty goods, and many others.

Customer support teams must take action on this input. Complaints and other unfavorable information present the opportunity to reevaluate your services and offerings.

Given that only 1 out of every 26 unhappy customers complains to the company and that an unhappy client would tell roughly 15 people about their unpleasant experience, chances are you’ve already lost some revenue due to angry consumers without even realizing it.

Nobody like dealing with client complaints, yet these sometimes painful incidents may be an opportunity for you and your company to shine. This is your chance to make a pleased and loyal customer for life by knowing how to respond to customer complaints.

Excellent customer service should always be a priority, but if you receive a client complaint, here are eleven recommendations on how to respond to customer complaints. With the correct tools, the difficulty of responding to a dissatisfied customer’s email can be met on a personal level.

Steps To How To Respond To Customer Complaints

  • Calmly listen to or read the customer’s complaint

Calmly listen to or read the customer's complaint

If a consumer has a problem, your first step should be to hear them out and empathize with their situation. A consumer who complains to you is likely already frustrated with your business in some way, whether it’s because of a recent price hike, a subpar dining experience, or an interruption in service.

It’s tempting to get defensive or dismiss the customer’s complaint out of hand, but it’s important to remember that complaints rarely occur in isolation. When a consumer complains, you should listen carefully and empathize with them since their concerns are important.

  • Acknowledge the Issue

When the consumer has finished speaking, you should repeat what they said to understand the issue. You can demonstrate to the consumer that you heard them and grasp the issue by restating their comments in your own words.

Simply recognizing the issue shows that you recognize and value the customer’s perspective without implying that you agree with it. For example, you may start off by saying, “I understand this must be quite annoying for you,” or “If I understand you correctly…” before paraphrasing the issue.

  • Take A Moment To Process The Criticism

Some comments can really hurt. It can be uncomfortable to admit that you made a mistake, but understanding what went wrong is crucial for resolving a client complaint. If the criticism is received electronically, like a review or a post on a social networking site, you have more time to consider the customer’s perspective.

Receiving constructive feedback in real-time, such as during a face-to-face conversation or phone call, will make this task more challenging. In the latter case, you need to put yourself in the client’s shoes as soon as possible and make fixing the issue a top priority, which you can only accomplish if you listen to the complaint and understand what the customer is trying to convey.

  • Apologize and Thank Them

Apologize and Thank Them

It’s not easy, but if you apologize to a consumer for their bad service, you’ll come out on top. Just as acknowledging the customer’s feelings does not mean you agree with them, apologizing does not mean accepting responsibility for what happened.

In what may seem like a backward move, showing gratitude to a customer for raising an issue demonstrates that you are constantly working to improve your firm. It shows that you care about their situation and are willing to help them by finding a solution.

  • Determine What Action You’ll Take To Address The Problem

Customer complaints responses are regular, so you’ll likely have an immediate solution after hearing the specifics. But as you know, sometimes a complaint comes out of nowhere, and you have no idea what to do about it.

Tell your clients the truth if you need time to figure out what to do next. Explain that you need some time to determine the best way to make amends and give them an estimate of when you’ll be in touch with a solution; alternatively, you may ask customers what they need from you to make amends and see if you can accommodate their needs.

  • Ask Questions

Ask Questions

When the consumer has had time to cool off, and you’ve heard their complaint, it’s your opportunity to take the reins and gather information. Clarifying inquiries can now be asked in a relaxed manner. Engage the customer in a heartfelt exchange. Kindness, listening, acknowledgment, and an apology go a long way toward earning back a customer’s trust.

However, you must avoid asking your customers questions they have already answered. A customer’s emotions may already be running high, and asking them to repeat themselves may make them feel like you weren’t listening, to begin with.

  • Tell Them Upfront What You Are Doing To Resolve The Issue

If you want to make a point, make it quickly. This is the solution you’re bringing to the issue, and here it is.

Don’t say, “we’re going to do our best to find a solution,” if you need more time to think it through. Unfortunately, your client has been scammed too many times by rival businesses to trust such flowery wording.

Be sure to update them on the progress you’re making in addressing their concern. If you need extra time, be sure to explain why, how long you expect it to take, what you need it for, and how much you value their patience.

  • Make It Speedy

Now that you have all the facts, it’s time to devise a plan that will satisfy everyone, especially your client. You’ll make your client happy and obtain much-needed relief from the situation if you can quickly find a workable solution.

Maintain a degree of adaptability. While it’s critical that you adhere to all of your company’s policies and procedures, it’s also crucial that you’re willing to go the additional mile for your consumers when necessary. It’s counterproductive to propose a fix if you don’t have the resources to do it. Offering a discount or gift card could be a nice way to appease them. You might either upgrade their membership or replace the item at no cost.

Allow your staff members some leeway to use their own discretion while they work to discover a solution. It’s preferable not to escalate an angry customer’s complaint by passing them up the organizational chart.

  • Check-In To See If The Customer Is Happy With The Result

After some time has passed, check in with customers to see if they’re happy with the resolution.

There is no hard and fast rule about how soon after a problem’s resolution, a follow-up should be made, but for some matters, it’s reasonable to wait a week or more.

Following a customer complaints response, it’s preferable to overcommunicate rather than under-communicate, as this demonstrates that you care about the issue and want to make amends when asking how to respond to customer complaints.

  • Make Space For Further Conversation

You and the consumer should work together to solve the concern. The level of tension in the resolution depends on your approach, and if you do a good job, you might even win that customer around for good.

When working with others, you should avoid reaching a final conclusion. Always allow the other person to reopen, clarify, and ask questions about topics they are unsure of. When conversing with another individual, it’s courteous to let them know you’re willing to answer their questions and welcome their input.

  • Incorporate Changes From Customer Feedback

When the dust settles, you must fulfill your commitments. Wouldn’t you be frustrated if you complained about an error and nothing was done to fix the problem? Not every customer gripe requires an immediate shift in policy.

If one client reports that her package was damaged, that is not necessarily caused for a whole supply chain overhaul. If one hundred customers report receiving damaged packages, you might want to investigate your storage and transport facilities. You should pay close attention, make links between the many complaints, and decide if more drastic measures are required.

The more complaints there are against a single worker, product, or feature, the more likely it is that there is an issue with that worker, product, or feature.


Coordinating how to respond to customer complaints at scale necessitates the entire organization’s participation. Data aggregation to produce a single source of truth and complete the outer loop with customers are all part of the process. Tools like Xoopah help with every step of creating and executing a customer feedback loop.

To finish the inner feedback loop, you must guarantee that feedback is supplied and performed internally so that the relevant insights are sent to the right teams so that they can make the best decision for the client.

By completing the outer feedback loop, you inform the client that their input was received and that changes have been implemented. Involving your consumers in a conversation about positive change and action based on their requirements not only helps your company drive forward with a customer-centric growth plan, but it also keeps them happy.