Horror Complaints by Customers: When Good Requests Go Bad

Sticking too much to policy

Policies exist for a reason: they remove ambiguity for your team members, they standardize the customer experience, and they serve to protect the company. That said, when stuck to too stringently, they make for a bad experience. We’ve all heard the recording of the Comcast employee consistently trying to upsell, and then denying service to a customer asking to cancel, right?

How to do it right

Policies are there for a reason and can be valuable both for the customer and your team. That said, empower your team members with opportunities to work around the policies, especially if it will be better for the customer. As long as it isn’t an issue of national public safety, you should be able to find a little bit of wiggle room every once in a while.

Doing chat poorly

A recent study found that 79% of businesses believed implementing live chat resulted in increased customer loyalty, sales, and revenue. But that’s only if the chat is structured well. We’ve all been there when chat goes awry:

customer complaints

How to do it right

Take the time to make it personal. Introduce yourself to the customer — even if the response is automated, give your bot a human name to make the experience friendlier. Make sure that you respond to the customer quickly and carefully. If you cannot respond within a few minutes of them reaching out, direct them to another channel and reset their expectations.

Keeping people on hold

Hold music is the worst music, isn’t it? When it comes to support, almost no one wants to have to wait for a response, especially if they’re on the phone and trying to fix their issue quickly. Most companies try to make customers’ wait times as quick as possible, except for one airline that kept a customer on hold for fifteen hours. At the end of the hold, they told the customer that they couldn’t resolve the issue. Then, he called back and got the issue resolved on the second try within just a few minutes

How to do it right

Create options for your customers to receive a callback rather than staying on the phone the whole time they are on hold. Prioritize customers with issues like account access or billing, and encourage other customers to reach out via channels that may be more conducive to fixing their trouble. Beyond that, pick good music.

customer service interviews

Refund requests

According to the Customer Rage Study, when complaining to a company, 87% of people want to be treated with dignity, but only 54% want their money back. The money is not the issue as much as the customers’ feeling of being respected. If it’s outside of your control to give a refund, find another way to explain the situation to your customers respectfully. If you take the time to explain your reasoning in a compassionate way to your customers, they’ll feel respected and you’ll continue to have a good relationship. If you lean on the explanation of “policy,” it makes your customers feel like they are just a number to you, despite their time using your product.

How to do it right

When you can, give a refund. If your hands are tied, explain to the customer why you can’t offer a refund in language that they can understand. Cut out all of the mysteriousness and be honest. It’s their money — they deserve to know and be respected.

Not taking your time

When you’re at the end of the day, and you’ve only got a few conversations left to go through, it can be tempting to rush. However, one of the easiest ways to make mistakes on a customer inquiry is not to read it thoroughly or take some time to dive in. Here’s an example:

customer complaints
customer complaints

How to do it right

Take the time to read what your customers are saying. If you have the option to double-check that something is working as expected, or trying to reproduce the customer’s issue before you respond, do it. Never assume — there’s a whole saying about that, you know!

It doesn’t have to be so scary

We know! After reading these stories, you’re going to have nightmares for weeks. Us too! That said, it doesn’t all need to be so horrific. Your customers are also humans, and deserve treatment as such. Take your time and understand where they are coming from and what their issues are. Read what your customers write, and take the time to get to know their history.

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