Email Management
Published August 16th, 2016 by

Email Complaints: How to Handle Them Effectively

Email Complaints: How to Handle Them EffectivelyCustomers seek help when they are not satisfied with a product they got or if they are experiencing problems. Thank you letters and praises are rarely reasons for customers to contact customer support. Unfortunately, when you work as a customer care representative or specialist, all the emails that you will get are complaints or asking how to solve certain problems. You might know the answer but it is important that you handle email complaints effectively. If you have been doing it for a long time, then it comes real easy now for you. If you are new to customer service then this article might be helpful for you. Experts might still get something from this writing, so read on.

Assess the Problem

The best email management tools have the option to extract significant content from an email. Those contents can be header, the gist of the email, the sender, signature and other pertinent information. This is helpful since you are most likely to get hundreds of messages in your work shift. This will save time, instead or reading the whole email. But sometimes reading the entirety of the message will give you more information than what the email management software gave you. You will be able to capture cues and other clues that the software might have missed. It would be in bad form if you only reply to part of the problem because your software thought that only one part of the email was significant enough for extraction. Reading the whole email can also help you get the exact words that the complainant used to add to the reply you will send.

Record the Complaint

There are times that you will get the same complaints over and over again. Recording the complaint will offer you reference in the future when you encounter the same problem again. Recording the complaint will also allow you to go back to past encounters and assess how you approach them. It will help you improve on things that need improving. Email management tools offer comprehensive history recording for all emails received from the beginning of time or at least when you first started using the software.

According to White House Office of Consumer Affairs, for every one customer who complains there are 26 others who choose not to. What if those 26 people choose to email a complaint, having your email correspondence recorded will help you not type the same responses 26 times.

Identify the Customer

According to the paper published by the University of Florida, there are five types of customers who complain. Identifying them will greatly help in how you approach their complaints. These are the five categories:

  1. This is the type that mostly avoids confrontation. Even when they are dissatisfied, they won’t report it. You have to actively seek their feedback to know if they are happy with the products they received or not. You have to be the one to approach them to know the problems and then solve it.
  2. This is the type that is not shy with regards to his or her complaints. They are often confrontational and aggressive. These are the irate customers that phone call supports mostly encounter. Usually it is rare with email complaints, since it is especially hard to be angry in writing. But all the same, don’t copy their confrontational tendencies and stay calm when dealing with this type of customer.
  3. High roller. These are the ones who like to spend big money. In return they expect VIP treatment with their customer support. They don’t like excuses and you should try real hard to solve their problems since they can be repeat customers. It is 6-7 times more expensive for the company to acquire new customers than to keep current ones. So do everything you can to keep these high rollers in the customer base.
  4. Chronic complainer. These are the ones who, as the term implies, complains a lot. This doesn’t mean you should take their complaints for granted. There are times that they still have legitimate concerns.
  5. This is the worst since they are complaining in the hopes of getting the products for free. No matter what you do or say to help them with the problem, they wouldn’t accept it unless you give them gifts or handouts.

Open the Email With a Thank You and Apologize

Emails that appear personalize, even when they are not, are more likely to be received positively by customers. Starting with a thank you is also a good opening. Instead of jumping to the apology, why not thank the customer for taking the time to contact you. Afterwards, you can start with the apology for whatever they are complaining about. Offering an apology is a way to get on the good side of the customer. There are many agents who do not do this. So stand out and offer an apology. When the problem is resolved, the apology would help you get a better recovery and rating from the customer.

Email tracking software will give you automated responses while still offering you the option to edit the content. This is to save time typing the same things at the same time giving you the freedom to add what needs to be in the reply.

Explain the Problem

It would make sense to jump immediately to the solution and that is ok. But it would also be nice if you could include how the problem might have started. This is not to place blame on anyone. This is so that the client will know what not to do next time, so the problem won’t ever occur again. Explaining how the problem came to be is essential to the customer recovery. A comprehensive explanation about the problem and the solution will help in making the customer feel good about the customer service and this will help in them giving a good feedback.

Offer Compensation

There are times that the problem really lies in the company. In this instance, it would be better to offer compensation to the customer. It would work a lot of wonders to soothe ruffled feathers. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just the gesture is enough. It could be free merchandise from your company, vouchers or coupons, discounts on their next purchase and other stuff to restore the faith of the customer in your company. Be sure that all conversation has been recorded in your email tracking tools. Even the gifts you have provided should also be documented.

Solve the Problem

You have received an email because your customer is not satisfied with something or an error has occurred with the product or something broke. Whatever the reason is, the customer is asking for help. So of course, to effectively handle complaints you have to solve the problem. Include in your email a detailed instruction of how the problem can be solved. Or if it is too long and it looks like it won’t be read well in an email, send a link to the solution. This way the article can be well formatted to appeal to its reader. Again, document and organize the emails sent and received in the top email management software.

Edit and Proofread Your Email

The best way to appear professional and like you know what you are doing is to not have any errors in your email. That is why it is very important that you read your email again. This is to find any spelling and grammar errors and to see if what you wrote is easily understandable by a layman. In case you found errors, be sure to edit them before sending them. The best email management tools should offer spelling and grammar check. Read email management software reviews to know which software offers the best when it comes to correcting errors and fragments.

Respond as Soon as Possible

Complainants expect a reply to their emails within a day or so. Anything less would be even better, so if possible respond as soon as possible. This will show that you take all complaints seriously, no matter how ordinary. This will make your customers feel valued and appreciated if you get back to their emails immediately. Getting an email list management software is a great help when it comes to responding promptly. It will assign emails directly to those who the software thinks is most capable of answering certain problems. The dashboard is also there for the most urgent emails and ensures that nothing is missed. Read reviews of email management tools to know which software offers intelligent routing for quicker response time.

Being a customer service representative can be a repetitive job but it doesn’t mean that you should take any of the emails for granted. Read the email, find out what the problem is and try your best to help your customers. Hopefully this article has helped you craft the most respectful and helpful email a client could ask for.

Want an email management software that will help with customer complaints? Read the reviews to find out which is the best help in this regard.

John Tovar

John specializes in the creation and planning of business-centric mobile applications and mobile website design and development.

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