How to respond to complaints

Complaints about big company service levels from the likes of BT and BA, most banks plus insurance and travel companies, mobile phone providers and power companies are nearly always made worse by poor and defensive communication. Often the responses from them make us very cross.

The top ten list of triggers includes smug, self-serving, meaningless and patronising platitudes, delivered by anonymous customer service teams. Or, worse, inhuman and poorly coded chatbots that are not human or personal, and always fail to resolve the original complaint.

But there is a better way. That is for people who work in customer service to bin the pre-written nonsense they are forced to send by nervous managers, and write a person-to-person response instead.

First, because the customer will feel acknowledged and validated, and their problem may well be satisfactorily sorted in parallel. They will then tell others about their positive experience. And third-party endorsement like that is priceless.

Second the reputation of the company concerned will be continually enhanced by a service team acting in this way each time.
And third, the individual employee who responded can take credit for a job well done. Such is the psychology of people that this ‘feel good’ will lead to them doing at least as well next time.

Considered and considerate human-to-human communication turns negatives into positives, keeps customers and staff happy and onside, and enhances a corporate reputation.

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