10 Ways to Speed up Complaint Handling


Our panel explains how you can resolve customers’ complaints quickly.

1. Phone the customer – regardless of how they contacted you

When things go wrong, customers appreciate a phone call, even if they made contact with you through a different channel. This is because phone calls are both quick and PRIVATE; your customers’ issues won’t be bandied across the internet.

Phoning also ensures that both parties are less likely to misunderstand what is being said – if you email, tweet etc. the written word doesn’t have the depth of meaning or tone conveyed by speech and is more open to misinterpretation.

Ken Reid

Ken Reid

A phone call will also elicit greater detail about your customer (so you can keep adding to your histories) – and you can control the content.

With thanks to Ken Reid at Rostrvm Solutions

2. Make sure your service strategy has well-defined procedures

Have a service strategy with well-defined procedures for managing complaints for all channels. This should include the customer journey, service failure points and complaints with key words, as used by the customer.

Also have an agreed engagement policy with all stakeholders, defining the why, when and how to respond to customer enquiries.

Steve Shellabear

Steve Shellabear

3. Develop your staff to resolve customers’ complaints quickly

Recruit, train and develop your staff to resolve your customers’ complaints well, through all channels.

Prioritise communication, problem solving and empathy skills, as well as written and verbal skills.

With thanks to Steve Shellabear at Dancing Lion Training & Consultancy Ltd

4. Listen to and act on customer feedback

Carolyn Blunt

It’s not enough for the contact centre to soothe complainers and repair customer relationships in the short term, it is vital that the root causes of complaints are tackled and resolved.

Listening to feedback from the contact centre is a key source of information. Agents should be able to gather information from complainers, thank them for it and then hand the issue to the relevant teams, confident in the knowledge that it will be resolved as agreed.

Failure to do this means the contact centre ends up bearing the brunt of repetitive complaints and the pages of online communities and social media are filled with moans and meaningless, empty apologies.

With thanks to Carolyn Blunt, co-author of Delivering Effective Social Customer Service

5. Empower your agents to focus on the customer experience

Dave Ogden

Dave Ogden

Don’t hamstring your social advisors with bureaucratic legal speak or boilerplate answers.

Allow them to have a conversation and deal with the problem that the customer has, empowering them to focus on the customer experience.

With thanks to Dave Ogden at Aspect Software

6. Use social media monitoring to alert agents to potential customer issues

Social media monitoring can alert customer service representatives to potential customer issues.

It begins with monitoring social media for mention of brands, products and the organisation name, and extends to contact centre agents having access to company information, often from disparate systems, such as CRM, customer databases, product inventories and sales systems.

Dave Paulding

Dave Paulding

This proactive approach is only effective, however, if agents are given the right tools to identify, pick-up and respond to complaints or queries quickly.

The speedy resolution of customer complaints and queries can also be improved by tying the call centre, social media and corporate systems together in a unified way, bringing agents the right information when they need it.

In this way, the agent can attend to any query – find information on an outstanding order, answer a question, or sell a product – quickly and efficiently, regardless of the medium of contact.

With thanks to Dave Paulding at Interactive Intelligence

7. Identify and segregate the customers contacting with complaints

One of the first steps to ensuring a robust complaints procedure is to make sure that you can effectively identify and segregate the customers contacting with complaints.

For voice calls, this could be done through specific numbers and options on an IVR system to ensure that they are put through to agents equipped with the correct knowledge to handle the complaints.

In terms of emails, specific addresses or folders can be created so that the customer can either send the information via a specific email address, or keywords within the email can ensure that emails are sectioned into the correct folders and not lost within other emails.

8. Automate an acknowledgement response

Automating an acknowledgement response to the customer if they email their complaint will give the customer an instant indication that the email has been received and is in the process of being dealt with.

Trying to see the opportunity within a complaint can often have quick benefits for the company. Offering a customer a discount voucher for their next purchase not only allows you to do something beneficial for the customer, but also increases the chances of a repeat purchase by the customer.

With thanks to Joe Richardson at ctalk

9. Automate processes with advanced real-time routing

Stefan Captijn

Stefan Captijn

Customer service software with advanced real-time routing can automate the processes of listening to what people are saying, analysing posts, and prioritising and routing them to the right resolution or right people who are able to deal with the problem.

With thanks to Stefan Captijn at Genesys

10. Provide 24-hour coverage for social media

Posts and tweets should be considered at least as important as web chat – if not more so – due to the public nature of this ‘chat’ channel. You can estimate the number of staff you need by simply looking at the number of Facebook posts or mentions of your Twitter account that you receive each day.

Remember that customers use Facebook and Twitter 24 hours a day, so this is a round-the-clock job. It’s not enough just to provide an 8am to 8pm service if you’re serious about social customer care.

With thanks to Dave Ogden at Aspect Software

How does your contact centre quickly resolve customer complaints?

Published On: 19th Dec 2013 - Last modified: 25th Oct 2017
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1 Comment
  1. Excellent tips! I agree with everything. You can’t risk having a customer leaving disappointed.

    Dan 8 Jan at 4:46 am
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