11 Effective Ways to Respond to Customer Complaints

11 Effective Ways to Respond to Customer Complaints

One of the most important parts of engaging with customers on all of the various channels available to them is responding to customer complaints.  This is especially true with social media and the immediate-gratification society we all now live in. It’s easy to respond immediately to the positive comments on your social media channels or replying to reviews that are complementary to your company or products.  However, according to Harris Interactive, 79% of customer complaints posted online were ignored.

In order to make sure you don’t miss out on any opportunities to engage with your customers and elevate your brand, there are things you can do to respond appropriately to customer complaints.  We’ve gathered eleven of the most effective ways to respond here.

11 Ways to Respond to Customer Complaints

#1 Listen for Brand Mentions

There are very effective ways to listen to your various channels for brand mentions that will end up right into a centralized l inbox and allow you to respond immediately.  You can also set alerts so that you don’t miss any mentions to help you respond to all customer complaints.  This can be done through social media management tools, Google alerts, or through certain customer relationship management (CRM) solutions.

#2 Stay Professional

When you receive a complaint from a customer, it’s very important to stay professional in your response.  You want to be clear, calm, and understanding no matter how irate your customer gets with you.  Always remember that they are just angry about the situation and it is not a personal vendetta against you.

#3 An Apology Goes a Long Way 

When you receive a complaint, an apology can make a huge difference.  If their complaint is founded and there is an issue with the product or your company, a big apology is in order.  If the product or company is not at fault, but the customer is complaining anyway, it is still appropriate to apologize by saying something like, “I’m sorry that was your experience with it,” or “I’m sorry it wasn’t up to your standards.”  An apology can disarm an angry customer very quickly. 

#4 Personalize Your Messages 

Use your customer’s name or handle when responding to their complaint.  It humanizes you and helps them see that you are trying to help them.  Using information you have from previous interactions to further personalize your messages will go even further.  Personalizing messaging is listed by PNC Digital as one of the primary ways to improve your customer experience.

#5 Faster Response

With all of the tools available to you to find customer complaints immediately, you should be able to respond immediately. In certain situations, you can even use the help of artificial intelligence (AI) to send automatic responses or to use chatbots.  These automated replies can simply state that you will resolve their issue as soon as possible.

#6 Listen to Your Customer 

Make sure you truly listen to your customer’s complaint and document as many details as you can.  Showing them you genuinely care about their satisfaction and want to resolve their issues completely.

#7 Follow Up with Customers

Following up with your customers to ensure their complaint has been resolved and they have not experienced any further issues is a great way to solidify a good customer service experience following a poor product experience.

#8 Understand Your Customers

Just like the many personalities that people have, complainers do too.  Some people will be belligerent and aggressive and others will be timid and quiet.  Others may want to try to negotiate better deals by complaining about relatively minor issues.  You’ll need to understand who you’re talking to and how to handle them and their unique personality as a complainant.

#9 Escalate When Necessary

If you are not the right person to handle a specific complaint or it is “above your paygrade” to do so, escalate it to your supervisor sooner rather than later.  Have an escalation plan in place so you know who it should go to and when so you can get your customers’ complaints resolved quickly.

#10 Respect Your Customers

Even when your customers are angry, show them respect as your customer.  If they are insulting, by all means, pass them on to your supervisor, but for those that are just frustrated and being negative, it is always a good idea to treat them with respect and thank them for their business.

#11 Do Not Delete Negative Comments

This is a common mistake and a detrimental one at that.  Deleting negative comments or reviews not only makes you look like you are sweeping issues under the rug, but it is also a missed opportunity.  Responding to these comments with an apology and a contact email or number for them to get in touch with you immediately makes your customer service appear top-notch.


SuperOffice makes the claim that customer complaints are actually good for business for several reasons.  One is that instead of just ceasing doing business with you, they are reaching out.  Another is that it highlights a possibly previously unknown problem with your product.  Plus, quickly resolved complaints often turn these customers into loyal customers.

Implementing an advanced CRM solution can help you with resolving issues quickly and efficiently.  Agile CRM is one such solution that can help you keep track of all customer interactions, positive or negative, and personalize all of your customer service interactions. It can also help you integrate your social media campaigns and with the 500apps social media management tool, HipSocial, to track all of your mentions and respond immediately.

Try Agile CRM for free for your first 10 users and see if it helps you field your customer complaints and minimize your response delays.

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