How To Deal With A Customer Complaint Where The Customer Is Wrong

Thu 19th June 2014

‘The customer is always right’ is a saying most people have heard of and is one that is seen to be true by consumers and retailers alike.

The problem is, it isn’t actually always true, especially when it comes to customer complaints. Unfortunately, though, many organisations find it difficult to respond in a positive way when they have to explain to the customer that they are, effectively, wrong.

So, how should you deal with with a customer complaint where the customer isn’t right?

Step 1: Never dismiss a complaint immediately

As tempting as it can be to simply dismiss the customer’s complaint as soon as they raise it, as you know it’s not justifiable, this is the first step to having the customer become more irate and escalate their complaint further.

Complaints come about after customers are unhappy with a certain product or service. If they’ve taken the time to contact you to raise their concerns, the issue is likely have caused them to feel angry, upset or annoyed – the last thing they want is to feel they aren’t being listened to.

Step 2: Treat the complaint as you would any other

You should always treat wrong or false complaints in exactly the same way – listen to the customer, record their complaint in full in your customer complaints system and go through exactly the same process you would with any other complaint.

If you’re able to provide a response outright (by following steps three and four), that’s fantastic. However, if you are in anyway unsure, further investigation is always the way forward, no matter how ludicrous you believe the complaint to be.

Step 3: Give an explanation

The importance of customer communication is continuing to grow considerably. The further development technologies means that people want to feel the organisations they’re spending their money with are both listening to and understanding their views.

When it comes to responding to customer complaints and providing suitable explanations and reasoning, the simple fact is quality always prevails over quantity.

You may be able to work through more customer complaints if you respond with a short, stock reply, but you’re likely to see more repeat custom and less of a negative impact on brand reputation if you take the time to provide full, in-depth explanations as to, in this case, why the customer is wrong.

Step 4: Offer an alternative

Just because a customer’s complaint is incorrect and can’t be justified, it doesn’t mean they should be treated any differently from a customer with a genuine complaint.

If you can, offer the customer an alternative or provide them with a solution to the problem they believe they have. Again, it may mean a matter of quality over quantity, but the benefits could be considerable.

Step 5: Analyse the source of the complaint

Through the effective use of customer complaints software, you should be able to not only record and respond to all complaints, but report on them regularly. Doing this should provide business intelligence to help with the development of the organisation, most notably in regards to reacting to the issues that are causing regular complaints.

However, this analysis doesn’t just have to take place on genuine customer complaints. If you’re receiving regular complaints from customers where the customer is wrong, it would beneficial to understand what is causing confusion and if anything can be implemented to reduce unnecessary strain on your complaint management resources.

Generally speaking, the customer should always be right – but that doesn’t have to be the case all the time.

It’s not just a matter of dismissing a customer if they have an invalid complaint, however and you need to ensure you do your utmost to please them and provide a solution that is going to make them want to return to your organisation as a repeat customer in the future.