How to Respond to Complaints with Contact Management System

Just last week, I was dealing with a service outage in my area. The internet as well as the phone lines and television services were not working. I called my service provider for assistance and they told me that they wouldn’t be able to fix the issue until a week later. I wanted to cancel because my alarm system was not working and causing me to have security concerns.

In this midst of finding out information about cancellation, the customer service representative’s line got disconnected. I wasn’t quite sure what to do because I had a contract with the service provider and wanted to weigh my options. Instead of calling me back, the CSR immediately assumed that cancellation was the only way out for me and cancelled my services. When I tried calling back, the tech department told me the billing department was closed. The next day I spent 6 hours, with long wait holds, on the phone trying to get an answer out of them. Upon the 6 hour mark, I decided to cancel because I was tired of being transferred from billing to technical from technical to billing and from billing to management.

Two hours after cancellation, I get a call from the retention department. They were sad to see me go after only 7 months with them. I was shocked! I was a customer of theirs for 7 months in my current location. In my previous residence, I was their customer since 2002. The bottom line was they would not tear up a contract for interruptions, large or small. Irregardless of the security concerns it was causing.

After careful consideration, I called and emailed the level 3 manager I previously spoke with about continuing our discussion about customer retention. I was promised a call back within 24 hours. 1 week later, I still have not received a call from that manager. What I did receive was an email blast from the VP of Loyalty telling me that he is sorry to see me go and recommended that I call their retention department to get the best deals.

If the company had invested in a proper contact management system, they would have known that I was interested in staying on and already tried to email and call the level 3 manager who clearly was avoiding my calls and emails. It is also safe to say that if they had a comprehensive contact management software they would have known that I was their client since 2002 and not for 7 months.

I am the first to admit that sales and customers are two of the most sensitive topics in the world of business. First impressions are very important and you don’t want to start off your relationship with prospects and customers on the wrong foot. Here are some tips you can follow when responding to a complaint or negative review.


customer service - contact management system


Stay Calm

When you receive a complaint about your business, your automatic reaction will be to respond immediately, defending yourself and trying to make things right. The problem with this is your emotional response will probably not sound too professional. Stick to a rule of waiting a couple hours before responding. This will give you time to calm and allow you to think straight.


Acknowledge their feedback

It may seem wrong at first to thank someone for complaining about your business, but just like in real life, courtesy can go a long way in putting out the fire. Start off your response by thanking the commenter for their constructive feedback and immediately follow that with an apology that they were unhappy. Encourage the commenter to contact you in person so that you can immediately rectify the situation.


Be honest

If there’s a true, honest explanation for why your customer had a bad experience, be open about it. Perhaps it was all just a big misunderstanding. Lay your cards on the table. Just keep it brief. If there isn’t an explanation, don’t be tempted to make up an excuse. Just own the fact that what happened did happen and it’s time to move past it.


Take action

Propose a solution to the complainant, if possible, that will help correct the problem at hand. Make sure that they understand their business is very important to you. Offer a discount on future services. But don’t get too carried away. Sometimes there’s no pleasing for an upset customer. Going back and forth may not do you any good.


Invest in Contact Management System!

Most often, customers aren’t happy with the services they receive because they feel that the service provider does not understand their needs and does not fit their goals. It’s a learning curve for some organization and business leaders  who should be looking at complaints as something positive and something that they could utilize to improve the organization in the future. A good place to start is to purchase a comprehensive contact management system, such as InfoFlo.

A comprehensive contact management software allows you to input as many important details about a customer or prospect as possible. Information can include invoices sent to customers, recent transactions, contracts signed, important milestones, birthdays of C-Level executives etc. You can even set yourself reminders in the calendar to ensure you don’t forget to follow up with them and see how they’re doing. Another purpose of setting up reminders is so that you can send occasional email blasts to those customers/prospects to show your appreciation for their business.


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