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Customer Service Answer Guide

Customer Service Answer Guide

In an engaging Q&A format, the Customer Service Answer Guide provides brief, meaty answers to frontline reps’ most frequently asked questions.

Your reps will learn how to bounce back after a nasty call, how to stop stress in its tracks, how to overcome anxiety about selling, and more.

Read the sample below to see how much useful information is packed into a brief section of this guide.

How to handle customer complaints

Q: Complaints are relatively common in our business, and many times customers have a legitimate gripe. What’s the best way to handle customer complaints?

A: Listen, listen, and listen some more. That’s the best way to handle complaints. Most of the time customers with a complaint simply want to voice their issue and know that it will be resolved. When listening is not enough, however, it’s time to practice your straight A’s. The straight A’s are: Acknowledge, Apologize, Affirm, Answer, and Act.

  • Acknowledge the customer’s complaint by repeating back what you heard and by asking confirming questions. Both techniques are important in reassuring the customer that you are listening and actively engaged in helping resolve the problem.
  • Apologize for the situation that has led to the customer’s call. A specific rather than a vague apology will increase the customer’s confidence in your ability to resolve the problem. For example, “I’m very sorry that you received the red pens rather than the orange.”
  • Affirm the customer’s concern and empathize with his or her feelings by using words like “feel,” “felt,” and “found.” For example: “I understand how you feel.” “In working with others, I’ve found a good solution to be....”
  • Answer the customer’s questions and concerns. Address each issue as completely as possible, using straightforward, non-technical language.
  • Act on the information provided by the customer. Whenever possible, offer the customer a choice of options for solving a problem, then take action and do what you’ve committed to.

Scott Nichols
Society for Human Resource Management


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