Every brand faces its share of customer complaints. Clients can struggle with misinformation, disappointment, faulty products, and many other issues that lead them to complain.
Responding to this feedback is a vital task for customer service teams. Complaints and other negative information present an opportunity to rethink your services and offerings.
On an individual level, thoughtful responses can transform unhappy customers back into satisfied clients. As artificial intelligence (AI) tools become more widespread, it’s important to choose a solution with natural language processing that understands a customer’s true intent, issue, and complaint.
Explore 15 great examples of how to respond to customer complaints, including how natural language processing can help you provide stellar service.
1. The customer tried your product but it doesn’t match the advertisements
Ideal response: “What do you need it to do? I can tell you more about our functions.”
This customer might be struggling with misinformation or assumptions about your product.
There are a few potential outcomes to this situation.
If your product or service does do what the customer wants, they might need additional education to use it.
If your customer has a need you can’t meet, you should allow them to return or exchange the item.
2. Your customer has been waiting but nothing is fixed yet
Ideal response: “I know, and I appreciate your patience. We’re trying our best to solve your problem as quickly as possible.”
Depending on your customer’s situation, it may take a while to resolve their problem.
Customer service automation software such as EmailTree can use sentiment detection to identify frustration from clients facing a long wait time or other issues.
Automation allows these customers to be escalated to the top of the service queue to have their issues addressed as quickly as possible.
3. The last person the customer talked to wasn’t able to help
Ideal response: “I’m so sorry to hear that. Please let me know what’s going on and I’ll try to be of more help.”
Customers with ongoing issues may have spoken to many representatives.
For example, a customer may have talked to both a salesperson and a manager in-store, then called a helpline, then sent in an email complaint.
Using a common knowledge base on products, services and terms and conditions allows you to streamline and optimise responses no matter what medium you use to communicate
4. The customer is generally unhappy with your service
Ideal response: “I understand how frustrating this problem is for you.”
When someone makes a customer service complaint, they’ve reached a certain threshold of frustration with your product.
The root of their unhappiness may be valid, such as in customers who received defective or damaged items.
Customers can also be concerned with issues far outside the scope of your brand, such as people worried about outlier situations.
Either way, you can help customers feel better by validating and acknowledging their unhappiness.
5. The client is too angry to describe their problem
Ideal response: “I want to make sure I fully understand what’s going on. Can you walk me through the problem and when it started?”
It can be challenging to communicate issues through text, especially for clients who might not know technical terminology. Requests for more information help clarify your customer’s issue.
When prompted, most people supply more details about their problem.
6. The client feels let down or betrayed by your brand
Ideal response: “I’m so sorry to hear about your bad experience with our product.”
A customer’s brand loyalty can be delicate for users at all stages.
People who are just trying your product for the first time may walk away after a single bad experience. Long-standing customers can also feel unappreciated when a favorite product no longer works for them.
Customer service responses should accept responsibility for negative experiences.
A simple, honest apology can help users feel more appreciated and possibly save the brand relationship.
7. The customer starts repeating themselves
Ideal response: “I’m reviewing your account now, particularly the overdue shipment, and we’re taking the matter very seriously.”
When customers start to repeat themselves, that’s a clear sign that they don’t feel heard.
Your customer is saying the same things over and over again because they’re trying to get their message across.
Sentiment detection is ideal for such situations. This capability can detect a person’s true meaning, then send the unhappy customer to the top of the service line to have their issue addressed quickly.
8. The client is overly negative or becomes aggressive
Ideal response: “I’m happy to share that we’re a step closer to solving your problem! I’ve identified the main issue and just need some more details from you.”
Customers can become aggressive or antagonistic, especially when they’re not face-to-face with their service representative. Email conversations have an emotional remove that can feel isolating.
Your team can model positive reactions and pleasant behavior to influence a customer’s attitude.
Sentiment detection tools like EmailTree identify when customers are particularly unhappy, then respond to them in a positive but respectful way.
9. The client uses partial statements that are hard to understand
Ideal response: “That does sound challenging. Can you describe your problem in more detail?”
Digital communication lends itself to brief statements, text shortcuts, and emojis. Texts, online comments, and direct messages are often short, so many people use similar patterns in help desk chats and emails.
Your customer service team should ask for more details whenever customers aren’t clear.
Natural language processing capabilities help AI chatbots recognize a lack of information, then act to get more details.
10. The customer is getting impatient without an answer
Ideal response: “Thanks for waiting. I’m working on getting in touch with the good department and I’ll have an update for you soon.”
Some customer requests take longer to resolve than others.
Depending on the situation, your team might need to confirm account information, contact other departments, arrange for manager approval, and more.
However, it’s important to keep the customer updated throughout this process. Regular status updates help your clients feel included, not abandoned.
During live conversations, you should let the customer know how things are progressing every few minutes. Automated daily updates are appropriate for email interactions.
11. The customer found a better offer with your competitor
Ideal response: “I appreciate you letting me know about this. I’m happy to match that offer and I can give you an additional 5% discount on top.”
Today’s digital marketplace makes it easy for customers to shop around.
If a client finds a better deal at a competitor, your company will benefit in the long run by beating the offer.
Your competitors operate with the same market conditions and pressures as you do, so if they can afford a certain promotion, you likely can as well. It’s better to offer a discount for one transaction than to lose a customer to the competition.
12. The customer keeps getting transferred to a new representative
Ideal response: “I apologize about that. Let me handle the situation from here.”
Customers are often frustrated when their communications bounce back and forth between multiple departments or representatives.
Your company might have a perfectly valid internal reason for such a shuffle. Regardless, customers can be disoriented to constantly deal with a new person.
Clients in these situations can feel like no one is taking ownership of the problem.
Intent detection technology can identify clients caught in these frustrating situations and reroute them to a single point of contact.
13. The client doesn’t feel like anyone cares about them
Ideal response: “I do care, and I’m working to make the situation right for you.”
Clients should always feel valued by your brand, yet unhappy customers frequently feel lost and unseen by customer service. Natural language processing helps AI solutions recognize when customers feel unappreciated.
Such situations are ideal for automated tasks to rebuild customer loyalty, such as gift cards, gift codes, or complementary products.
14. The company has broken promises to the customer
Ideal response: “I want to apologize for this situation because it doesn’t meet our normal standards. I’d like to offer you something to make up for our actions.”
Occasionally, a customer gets lost in the shuffle.
If you never sent a client’s order, missed a deadline, or otherwise broke their trust, it’s vital to rebuild your relationship.
Your brand should attempt to make up for the mistake by offering the full value back to the clients.
Send them a replacement item, renew their subscription, offer an account upgrade, or otherwise provide what they lost. If possible, give the clients something of greater value to show your commitment to making it right.
15. The client’s initial problem is solved
Ideal response: “Is there anything else I can help with today?”
You may have solved your customer's main problem, but do not end the conversation without asking for more information. The customer may have a small complaint or question that you can answer.
You can use automation to ask such questions after the ticket has been closed.
Always Respond To Customer Complaints
Negative feedback can be challenging, but every complaint offers a powerful opportunity for your brand to improve.
Aim to answer your customer complaints with understanding, empathy, and positivity.
An intelligent customer service automation software allow you to thoughtfully respond to clients so you can improve your brand’s reputation, one customer, at a time.