Top 10 Customer Complaints & Proven Strategies to Handle Them


December 20, 2023

Written by

Althea Lallana

Businesses of all kinds have to deal with various challenges everyday—one of which is customer complaints. With changing customer behavior and demands, businesses put in the extra work to develop a strategic complaint handling system that exceeds customer expectations. However, resolving them all at once is impossible.

Based on a Forbes Survey with more than 1,000 consumers, 96% responded that they would switch brands after having a poor customer service experience. This means almost every customer will leave you after one bad service. 

To turn things around, businesses must enhance their complaint management process to ensure a positive and satisfying customer experience. So here's a question: can you afford to lose customers, especially the loyal ones?

The following are proven strategies on how to handle customer complaints:.

Complaint #1: Slow Response Time

A girl waiting for chat


This complaint happens when businesses take too much time to respond or provide assistance. 

Say a customer encountered an issue with a product and contacted you for help. If you make them wait for a long while, they’ll be frustrated, right? And when they’re frustrated, it will most likely result in a negative review.

It's worth noting that 46% of customers expect companies to respond within four hours or less. Meanwhile, 12% of customers anticipate a reply within 15 minutes.

A quick and meaningful response makes customers feel valued. Otherwise, they will feel ignored, impacting their overall satisfaction. Thus, efficient communication is crucial for keeping customers happy and building trust.

Strategies to handle it:

  • Implement efficient customer support systems

By investing in advanced communication tools, training support staff, and streamlining your overall customer complaint process, customers can look forward to receiving prompt responses and resolutions. 

A fast and effective complaint management system helps you meet customers' expectations, creating smoother and more satisfying customer experiences for everyone. 

  • Set response time standards

This strategy involves establishing specific guidelines for quickly responding to customer concerns. This shows commitment to providing efficient customer service.

For example, a customer sends a message to your company's customer service, and you promise to get back within a specific timeframe. This helps customers manage their expectations and lessen their frustration.

  • Automate responses for common queries

Businesses can instantly acknowledge customer concerns with automated responses as a complaint management tool. With it, you can provide basic information like frequently asked questions (FAQs) without manual intervention. This speeds up the response time and ensures that customers receive immediate assistance, even outside regular working hours.

For more complicated inquiries, provide a  live chat option for customers to talk with an agent.

Complaint #2: Product or Service Quality Issues


This is when customers raise concerns about the quality of a product or service. It’s either they are not satisfied with what they received or that a product didn't work as expected. 

People want to get value for their money. When the quality falls short, they express dissatisfaction through comments and reviews. These kinds of complaints from customers often drive businesses to reevaluate and improve the quality of their products and services. 

Strategies to handle it:

  • Continuous improvement in quality control measures

Enhance your inspection processes by carefully checking, identifying, and fixing any issues that might affect the quality of your final product or service.

You can also invest in better training for employees involved in production or service processes. Well-trained staff are likelier to follow quality assurance guidelines and ensure that each product or service meets the specified standards.

  • Proactively seek customer feedback

This strategy includes surveys, feedback forms, or even direct conversations. When a company proactively seeks feedback, it can identify potential issues early on, make necessary improvements promptly, and stay ahead of conflicts. Doing so shows that you care about what they think and feel.

  • Offer hassle-free returns and refunds

If a customer is unsatisfied with their purchase due to quality issues, the company can offer hassle-free returns and refunds if applicable. This way, businesses acknowledge and take full responsibility for customers' complaints and concerns. 

This strategy is a quick and convenient solution that demonstrates your commitment to ensuring customer satisfaction. It also helps build trust and confidence between and among customers as you assure them that their concerns will be addressed promptly.

Complaint #3: Billing and Payment Problems



This complaint is usually about billing charges or payment difficulties. These problems could be unexpected charges, incorrect billing information, or issues in completing a payment transaction online. 

Customers expect an accurate and smooth transaction. Otherwise, it becomes a burden and a source of great frustration.

Strategies to handle it:

  • Transparent billing practices

Transparency is a key ingredient in handling billing and payment problems. This means that your business is clear and open about calculating charges and providing detailed billing information. This way, you avoid confusion and further conflicts with customers.

Transparent billing practices help inform customers what they’re being charged for, why certain fees exist, and how the payment process works. 

  • Flexible payment options

Make your payment processing more flexible and convenient by providing customers with various options and methods to pay for products or services. This strategy helps minimize billing and payment issues as you tailor the payment experience to suit individual preferences and needs. 

  • A dedicated billing customer support team

Having a dedicated billing customer support team is also a proven strategy to handle and resolve billing concerns. They ensure efficient responses, address any discrepancies, answer payment questions, and guide customers from start to finish.

Complaint #4: Inadequate Product Information


Inadequate product information can disappoint customers, especially those anticipating a trouble-free purchase. 

For example, a customer ordered an automatic washing machine online. However, upon arrival, there was no manual or detailed instructions on how it works or what it includes. Therefore, the customers become frustrated. 

Strategies to handle it:

  • Provide detailed product descriptions

To prevent customer confusion, provide them with detailed and comprehensive product descriptions. This helps them understand how a product works as well as learn its features, uses, and benefits. It’s also a way for them to decide whether they should buy or not, and if they do, they will know how to take care and make the most out of it.

  • Offer product demonstrations

Providing product demonstrations is a proven strategy because this is where you can visually and creatively explain all there is to know what you offer. With it, customers will have a better grasp of what to expect from their purchase.

Complaint #5: Shipping and Delivery Delays

package delivery


There is nothing more frustrating than too much waiting. Even though patience is a virtue, most customers will still complain about shipping and delivery delays. Items arriving later than the expected arrival date do not make customers happy. Rather, they will feel upset or lose excitement. 

These delays occur due to unexpected high demand, logistical issues, or transportation problems. Businesses often work hard to address these concerns promptly, as ensuring timely delivery is crucial for customer satisfaction.

Strategies to handle it:

  • Speed up the shipping processes

This strategy requires optimizing logistics, improving coordination with partnered couriers, and utilizing tracking apps or tools. This way, you can manage shipments more efficiently and ensure a more reliable delivery.

  • Communicate shipping timelines clearly

You should be upfront, honest, and transparent with customers about when they can expect to receive their orders. Providing accurate and clear information regarding shipping timelines helps customers manage their expectations, reduce frustration, and be aware of potential delays in advance. 

  • Compensate for delays

Compensation comes in various forms, such as offering discounts on future purchases, providing expedited shipping for free on the current order, or even issuing partial refunds. These reflect your willingness to acknowledge the inconvenience caused by the delays, make up for any problems customers encounter, and ensure that they are satisfied in the end.

Complaint #6: Rude or Unhelpful Staff


To come across rude or unhelpful staff is disheartening as it diminishes the positive experience customers expect. This obviously results in a negative feedback or evaluation.

Strategies to handle it:

  • Employee training in customer service

Provide thorough instruction and guidance to employees on how to behave as well as interact and assist customers in the best way possible. Highlight the importance of employee empathy during service interactions so they can understand the unique needs of each customer.

  • Establish customer service guidelines

These customer service guidelines emphasize the expected behaviors and communication standards for staff members. By setting clear and comprehensive rules, employees are better equipped to provide positive and remarkable customer experiences.

Complaint #7: Difficulty Reaching Customer Support


Customers hate it when they feel like they are playing an unending game of hide-and-seek. This makes it challenging for them to reach out to companies, ask for assistance, or raise their concerns. 

Strategies to handle it:

  • Enhance communication channels 

Enhancing communication channels, such as online chat support, phone calls, emails, and responsive social media accounts, make communication more manageable and accessible.

  • Extend customer support hours

Ensure that customers can effortlessly reach out to you anytime. Making your assistance team available for a longer period or even 24/7 allows customers to seek solutions wherever and whenever suits their schedules.

Complaint #8: Unresolved Issues

customer complaining over phone call


This complaint happens when customers face problems with a product or service that haven't been adequately addressed or solved. It could be due to ineffective communication, delayed response, or a failure to provide a complaint resolution that meets the customer's expectations.

Strategies to handle it:

  • Implement a robust complaint tracking system

Put in place an organized system to keep track of customer complaints. This ensures that each customer concern is carefully documented, monitored, and promptly addressed. 

This strategy involves assigning a unique identifier to each complaint, recording all relevant details, and tracking the progress of its resolution. With a robust complaint tracking system, you can identify patterns of recurring issues and further prevent them from escalating.

  • Follow-up with customers to ensure satisfaction

Ensuring customer satisfaction is not just about handling their complaints and giving them possible solutions; it’s also about continuous communication. Thus, providing additional support if necessary and maintaining an open line of communication. 

Complaint #9: Lack of Personalization


Customers complain when they’re not treated as individuals with diverse needs and preferences.  

Say you're a customer on the way to your favorite store, but the staff doesn't remember your name or your most-liked products. They would even try to recommend or suggest products that do not align with your preferences or past purchase history. As a result, customers complain about it when they only want to feel special and valued.

Strategies to handle it:

  • Utilize customer data for personalization

Gather information about your customers, such as their preferences, purchase history, and feedback to create a more personalized experience. This data allows you to customize your products and services relevant to meeting and exceeding customers' needs.

Additionally, calling or greeting customers by name shows that you acknowledge, value, and care about their individuality. 

  • Create loyalty programs

Aside from driving customer retention, loyalty programs also create a domino effect towards fostering stronger and more meaningful customer relationships. Offering rewards, discounts, and exclusive deals or vouchers for loyal customers can do wonders.

Complaint #10: Out-of-Stock Items


This customer complaint usually happens when a business runs out of the product. While out-of-stock items can be a positive sign that your business is popular and in demand, it is also a point of frustration for consumers.

Businesses strive to manage their stocks to avoid such a problem, but sometimes unexpected high demand can lead to temporarily unavailable products.

Strategies to handle it:

  • Optimize inventory management

When a business is good at optimizing inventory management, it means paying careful attention to customer needs and wants. Balance having enough products to fulfill the demand and not having too much that it gets stuck. 

  • Notify customers when items are back in stock

It is crucial to inform and notify customers when the desired products become available again. For instance, you may send them a special alert or a simple message saying, “Hey there! The item you wanted is now back in stock!”

This strategy shows that you value your customers and want to keep them updated about product availability. It allows customers to plan ahead and make timely purchases once the item they want is restocked. This turns a potential frustration into a positive, considerate customer experience.

  • Offer alternative product options

Another strategy is to offer alternative products aligned with customers’ interests and preferences. This is where you can suggest similar or comparable items available for purchase. Doing so shows that you really prioritize customer satisfaction because you are giving them other options, even if the original choice isn’t available at the time. 

Start Handling Complaints Like a Champion 

Customers, when faced with dilemmas, immediately want efficient and effective solutions. This is why customer complaint management is significant in maintaining customer loyalty and preventing repetitive issues in the future. By consistently showing empathy and exercising effective communication, complaint management transforms challenges into opportunities for strengthening customer relationships.

As a company, keep in mind all of these strategies to deliver exceptional complaint management solutions and ensure high customer satisfaction. You must also take a step back and view customer complaints as a challenge to improve rather than a burden to bear. Embrace these opportunities for learning and development as you achieve success and drive business growth.

Complaint management requires maximum patience, effort, and skills so you can start handling and managing customer complaints like a champion. It also demands expertise, training, and of course, plenty of time, which in-house teams may find it challenging to allocate while managing other core business activities. Therefore, consider outsourcing a flexible customer service provider like New Media Services!

Our experienced customer support agents are well-equipped to handle varying types of complaints efficiently. Rest assured knowing that complaints are settled with customer satisfaction in mind.

Ensure high-quality support for your customers! Contact us for more details.

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