While most customer service and support interactions are different on a day-to-day basis, there are a few scenarios and responses that come up every day. While there may be some that are very specific to your company (that have to do with your product or service), there are also several that are uniform across support. In this article, we’ll talk about ten of those such customer service and support complaints, and how you can address them.
I want a refund
If people don’t perceive themselves as getting what they would expect out of a service, they feel entitled to get a refund. And that makes sense! After all, if you ordered a sandwich, for example, and it was missing some of the key components that you’d expected when you ordered, you’d probably want a refund, too. But, continuing the metaphor, if it was your mistake and you’d misread the board, would you still be entitled to a refund? That depends on the sandwich shop and how understanding they are. It would feel great if they refunded you, even though it was your honest mistake, wouldn’t it? You want to make your customers feel that way.
When someone reaches out to you about a refund, try to understand the circumstances under which they came asking for a refund. Was it because something was broken with your company? If that’s the case, then you should definitely give them a refund, as long as it’s within your policy (if you have one). If it’s not necessarily your fault, evaluate on a case-by-case basis, and try to refund as often as you can for that real surprise-and-delight factor.
I want a feature that you don’t currently have
Customers that reach out to you with feature requests are not trying to be annoying. In fact, they probably care a lot about your product, otherwise, they wouldn’t reach out trying to help you improve it. So, when someone does email in about a feature, respond graciously. If you have the feature already, send them the documentation. If you might be building the feature in the future (be honest with yourself, are you really?), then give them that expectation or link them to your product timeline if it is live. Lastly, if you’re never going to build something: be honest about it. It’s a much better experience for your customer and you if you set the correct expectations and help them find a product that fits their needs if yours doesn’t. If you don’t, you’ll spend the next several months helping them with workarounds that aren’t great for them, something that will take up a lot of time and energy for you.
There is a bug in your product
If you have released a buggy product, or something is broken when your customer receives it, you should own that responsibility. Be honest in your apology about what happened (if you’re able to determine it), and do what you can in your power to make it right by them. If it’s a physical product, send them a new one without making them go through the hassle of sending it back or dealing with shipping. If it’s a SaaS product, and they lost time while you troubleshot and fixed the bugs, maybe offer them a refund or some credits to make up for lost time. Better yet: maybe offer a video consult with one of your success or support team members to help them figure out how to best use your product.
I can’t figure out how to use something
If people reach out confused about how to use a specific part of your product, link them to the documentation around the part that they are having trouble with. If you do not have documentation for that part of your product, provide a direct answer to your customer about how to use it, and then turn that response into documentation in the future. That way, in the future, other customers can find the answer without having to reach out to support, too.
I have a billing problem
Billing pages and account settings can be really confusing. With international regulations changing and requiring different things on a per country basis, you might not have everything you need on your billing page (or it might be difficult to find). Most billing issues can be handled ad hoc as you assist the customer with workarounds, but pay attention to how frequently things are requested. If something gets requested frequently it may be enough of an argument with data to get your product team to build into your actual product to save your team and customers effort and time.
You make a mistake in your response
This is another place where honesty is the best policy. When a customer calls you out on having made an error in your response, own it and admit it. Do not try to pretend like the customer misunderstood, or that you meant something else. If you do, you’ll lose the trust of the customer, which may potentially cost you their business moving into the future. A great way to do this is to say something along the lines of “Hey Customer, You’re right—that wasn’t the right answer. I’m sorry that I sent you something without fully double-checking it first; I know what it’s like to get the wrong information and then have to wait even longer to figure the problem out, and it never feels good. So, thanks for reaching out and letting me know how that affected you.”
The most important part is to acknowledge the issue, align with the customer, and then assure them that you’ve heard their complaint.
I have been transferred numerous times and I’m frustrated.
Listen, you don’t need a blog post to tell you that this is frustrating. If you’ve ever been calling in for support and have been transferred numerous times (which I’m sure you have, everyone has), you know that it’s one of the most frustrating things in the world. It’s time-consuming, frustrating, and there’s actually nothing the customer can do to control it. So, acknowledge that for them. Admit that you’re at fault and that you know this kind of thing is frustrating. If you can, track that constructive insight somewhere so that you can make shifts to it later on and create a better experience for your customers. But, in the moment, try to resolve the customer’s issues without any additional transfer and, if you have to transfer, do so with context so they do not need to explain all over again what the problem is.
I have been waiting FOREVER.
This is another situation where acknowledging, aligning with the customer and then assuring them that you’re going to take some action to make it better in the future is immensely impactful. Similarly, take a look at how long they have been waiting, and use that data point to see if there’s anything you could have done differently or better. For example, did they wait forever because one of your team’s processes broke down or was it because you were busy? Or, did they perceive the wait as “forever” but it was actually your normal wait time? If so, it might be time to do some additional hiring.
I have no idea how to reach out to your support team.
Some companies intentionally make it very difficult for customers to know how to reach out to them. While this is certainly a strategy to keep the volume down, it’s usually better to just try to scale, rather than avoid people contacting you. That being said, there will be times, even if you have tried to make your support offering very visible, where people just won’t be able to find a way to reach out and they’ll be frustrated. The best thing you can do here, rather than try to explain why is just listen and hear them out. Acknowledge that they’re feeling frustrated and that that’s valid, and internally track the feedback they are giving you so that you can talk to your user experience team and pass along their thoughts.
Your support person was rude to me.
This is a tough one. Usually, this needs to be escalated to a manager and addressed that way. There are a few different scenarios where this usually plays out: either the customer is perceiving rudeness, but that’s not the intent of the employee; the customer could be frustrated by an employee telling them something they didn’t want to hear; or the employee could actually have been being rude. No matter which of those three (or any other) scenarios it might be, “escalating” to a person in perceived power is always going to make the customer feel better. Once it’s been sent to the manager, they can review the conversation and see if any training or other action needs to be taken with the employee, and assuage the concerns of the customer.
These are just 10 of the most common conversations out of all the ones that you will likely see in support. While they all have a bit of nuance, almost everything can be solved with a little care and appropriate response. Customers, just like everyone else, just want to be heard and acknowledge, especially if they’re going through trouble with your product. If you can give them that, you’re well on your way to repairing relationships–it truly is that easy.