8 Types Of Complaints From Customers And Their Resolutions

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 26 October 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

In any business, customers may encounter problems that leads them to the customer support staff. When a consumer has a complaint, it is critical to listen to them because it is an opportunity to improve the customer experience and prevent turnover. If you work in customer service, it is critical that you understand the various types of complaints so that you can meet customer requirements and develop practical solutions. In this article, we explain what customer complaints are, provide a list of eight types of customer complaints with strategies to resolve them and outline some general tips for addressing complaints.

Related: What Is Customer Service? Definition And Career Advice

Types Of Complaints Customers Make

Different types of complaints that customers make serve as a source of information about the shortcomings of the goods and services a business offers. These are chances for the company to enhance its internal operations and improve consumer experiences. An organisation may retain more consumers, safeguard its reputation and find methods to enhance customer relations by handling complaints appropriately. Here is how you can improve the customer experience for each of these eight kinds of customer complaints:

1. Product or service quality

If customers encounter problems with a company's product or service, you can expect them to complain. For instance, a customer can describe how they received a damaged product in shipping or how a service does not fulfil their needs or differs from their expectations. In some instances, the problem may not be with the quality of the good or service but with the user's lack of understanding.

When this occurs, it is crucial to carefully record the client's complaints, investigate the source of the issue and decide whether a quality issue actually exists. Follow the company's procedures for handling a defective item or service, which may include replacements and refunds. Additionally, it is important to ensure they are using the product or service properly and, if they are not, to politely instruct them on how to do so.

Related: What Is A Customer Care Executive? (With Duties And Skills)

2. Unavailable or out-of-stock product

Customers find it frustrating when an advertised product is out of stock. Popular products that go out of stock for an extended period usually have inadequate supply chains or staffing concerns. As a result, both the customer experience and the brand's reputation suffer. Customers may grow impatient and demand a special order or keep calling for updates on the merchandise. This often signals a pressing need for the product and can cause the company to lose customers to a competitor if there is no immediate solution.

You may not be able to influence the shipping and stocking procedures, but you can report these problems to the managers, who can then inform the sales and product management teams. As a customer service representative, you can urge customers to be patient and tell them that they are going to receive a notification as soon as the product is back in stock. Reassure the customer that you are mindful of their time-sensitive needs.

Related: Guide: What Does A Customer Service Representative Do?

3. Delivery

When a business alters the anticipated delivery date of a product resulting in a delay, delivery complaints may arise. Either the business or the delivery service can be at fault for this. To resolve the problem, contact the carrier if you suspect they may have misplaced the shipment. When this occurs, you can check the package's tracking information to reassure the customer that their item is on its way. If the company is to blame for the delivery change or delay, apologise to the customer for the inconvenience and provide a satisfactory explanation.

Related: How To Write A Customer Service Manager Resume Objective

4. Long wait time

When a customer calls a company and has to wait for an extended period before speaking with an agent, the delay itself can become an issue. Customers may become dissatisfied and consider switching to a competitor for better customer service. To resolve this issue, apologise to the consumer for their wait time and, if possible, provide an explanation. Let them know you value their time and strive for first-call resolution.

To genuinely solve the problem, the company can consider improving its operations to better serve customers. This may entail recruiting additional call centre representatives to satisfy client demand, scheduling more staff members during peak times and utilising call centre automation technologies to streamline operations and optimise team performance by improving their day-to-day workflow. This can result in fewer complaints about hold times and a more satisfactory customer experience.

Related: Customer Service Interview Questions (And Sample Answers)

5. No resolution on the first call

When consumers contact your customer care team, they expect a resolution to their problem on the first call. If a customer service professional is unable to resolve an issue on the first contact and directs the buyer to multiple representatives and several phone calls over time, the customer may become disgruntled. This causes a waste of the customer's time, and the brand's image may suffer as a result.

While beginning a consumer interaction, take note of the situation's urgency and try to solve the problem on the first call. If you do not know the answer, avoid wasting time repeating procedures or seeking unnecessary information. Instead, gently request that you follow up later for a speedier resolution. Adding self-service support capabilities to the company's website is another strategy to increase first-call resolution rates. Tools like community forums and knowledge bases can assist customers in finding solutions and avoiding service calls entirely.

Related: 8 Customer Support Skills (Advantages And Ways To Improve)

6. Communication gap

Customer communication issues may result from miscommunication. This misunderstanding may arise from client interactions with staff members or a client's incorrect interpretation of a company's advertising. If the company's communication with the client was unclear, apologise to the customer and explain what went wrong. Offer the client some reward, such as a refund or a discount. If the consumer misread the communication, be kind and politely explain the misunderstanding without blaming the customer. Find a solution that allays the customer's worries, such as offering a partial refund.

Related: Types Of Barriers In Communication

7. Personnel

A customer may file a personnel complaint if they deem their interaction with a company's employee unsatisfactory. This occurs when a representative fails to address a customer's demands or when a customer's expectations are too high. Irrespective of the reason, the company's reputation may suffer if a customer care representative does not seem invested.

If a customer complains about an employee, ask them to detail their interaction with the staff, acknowledge their dissatisfaction, apologise for the circumstance and assure them of speedy complaint resolution. Additionally, you can inform the management. The manager can then discuss the incident with the employee to learn more about it from their perspective. To prevent a repeat of the episode, you can arrange further training for the employee.

Related: Customer Service Soft Skills: Definition And Examples

8. Public/online criticism

This form of complaint arises when a customer shares feedback publicly on an online forum or social media site. Because many people who follow the company's social media accounts may see the complaint, it is critical to resolve the customer's issue as fast as possible. When you notice this feedback online, contact the individual personally, ask for their contact information and provide your own to let them know you want to resolve the issue.

After understanding the complaint, take the necessary steps to solve the issue. If you are unable to handle the customer's problems, you can forward the complaint to the appropriate department or manager and inform the customer that you are investigating the issue. After resolving the problem, you may courteously request that the customer remove their complaint. If satisfied, customers may decide to remove the online feedback.

Related: How To Manage Customer Relationships: A Complete Guide

Complaint Resolution Tips

Follow these tips to resolve customer complaints efficiently:

  • Use the listening, apologising, solving and thanking (LAST) approach. The LAST approach can help you solve any kind of customer complaint. You can ask particular questions and use specific expressions for each step of this process, such as 'What seems to be the problem', 'I am sorry for the poor experience you have had 'or 'Thanks for waiting'.

  • Never blame the customer. Even if the fault seems to be on the customer's part, always try to explain what went wrong and why. Work on preventing the issue in the future and explain the correct course for the customer to take.

  • Repeat to ensure comprehension and clarity. You can show that you paid attention by reiterating the customer's issues. This demonstrates that you actively listened to their problems and fully comprehended their concern.

  • Always try to follow up. Even if a customer service representative believes they have resolved a customer's problem, the customer may still face difficulties. Following up quickly after such an interaction helps guarantee that you actually meet the buyer's expectations.

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