One of the biggest challenges in customer service is handling complaints.

Have you ever asked yourself how you and your business handles customer complaints?

Entire volumes have been written and lengthy classes taught in the hopes of educating business owners and telephone operators about the best responses possible to such negative input. It’s a hard road to navigate, to be sure, but there’s definitely a better way to deal with customers who are having issues than many businesses currently employ.

A Variety of Customer Care Strategies

There are three main strategies that businesses employ when it comes to customer complaints, but customers have a range of responses, most of which aren’t great. Your business has to learn how to keep customers happy even when they’re complaining if you’re going to see long-term success.

Let’s talk about customer care strategies:

Strategy #1: Ignore the Problem Until it Goes Away.

This is a popular strategy, employed by as much as a third of businesses, but it’s not a very effective one.

Customers who are ignored feel like they don’t matter and potential customers who see public complaints that go unanswered are likely to have a negative attitude toward your company. They worry that if you won’t respond to complaints now, there might be a problem they have tomorrow that will also go unheard.

Strategy #2: Getting Ugly with Your Customers

It should go without saying that ugly behavior toward customers will alienate and anger them. Customers who get negative responses will respond negatively. They will stop buying, they will actively warn their friends, they might even protest or cause other ruckus online. Your reputation can be irreparably damaged by a too negative response to complaints.

If you know you’re not able to respond to criticism with tact, you should drop what you’re doing right now and get some customer service professionals on your team. An answering service, for example, could juggle complaints by phone and through your online chat system.

Strategy #3: Saying Thank You.

Believe it or not, customer complaints are a door to better things. They can result in a change in the way your company handles a particular workflow or even improve products themselves.

Customer complaints should be viewed as opportunities to grow and change. This is why companies that genuinely care about their customers catalog and accept responsibility for problems, delighting those very frustrated shoppers in the meantime. Happy customers improve your reputation, and ultimately, your bottom line.

Customer service is a difficult job, made even harder by the need to address customer complaints. But if you approach your customer with tact, real regret for their problem and offer to fix them as soon as possible (make sure you follow through), you’ll discover that your fans will be extremely forgiving of your imperfections.

The aim of customer service should always be to delight and engage, and that’s exactly what you can do if you confront customer issues with a clear head and a plan of action.