Customer Complaints: How To Prevent and Handle Them the Right Way

Customer Complaints: How To Prevent and Handle Them The Right Way

Whether you like it or not, customer complaints are an inevitable part of running an eCommerce business. And if you don’t have a roadmap to handle them, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

It doesn’t matter if you’re selling the best products out there. Without solving your customers' complaints, you’ll lose countless potential shoppers, and your growth will stall. 

The good news is that it’s possible to drastically reduce customer complaints and use them as leverage to improve your store. It all comes down to applying the right strategy and practices.

The Importance of Resolving Customer Complaints


You can’t run away from the negative complaints of your customers as an eCommerce business. Here’s why:

Highlights Areas of Improvement

Customer complaints aren’t fun to deal with and can sting at times. However, a few bad words aren’t the end of the world — on the contrary, it can actually serve as a blessing in disguise.

Negative feedback from customers provides you with insights on where your business can improve. For example, if shoppers frequently complain about a specific product coming back faulty, you can put the product on hold and instead focus on improving its quality. 

Or, if customers often report that an item is smaller than it looks in the pictures, you can upload more accurate photos on the product page. 

Helps Understand Your Customers

Your success in eCommerce depends on being able to understand your customers’ needs and expectations. That way, you can better deliver the experience that they’re looking for.

Customer complaints are a great source of information on what they expect from your company. From there, it's going to be up to you to adapt your products and services accordingly.

Boosts Your Brand Reputation

93% of customers are reading online reviews about a business. To go even further, over 91% of 18-34 year old consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family.

The way your business handles customer complaints is what could make or break your brand reputation. If you’re always known to disappoint your customers, other potential shoppers might shy away from doing business with you. 

On the other hand, if you’re quick to respond to customer requests and listen to their feedback, then you’re positioning yourself as a brand that shoppers can trust. They’ll feel like your brand has their best interest in mind. 

The 5 Most Common Types of Customer Complaints (and How To Solve Them)


Solving customer complaints effectively consists of preparing yourself in advance. By being two steps ahead, you’ll be able to fix issues quickly and save time for both your business and customers. 

Here are the most common customer complaints in eCommerce, along with solutions you can apply to handle them:

1. Your Product Is Out of Stock

It’s a common theme across eCommerce: a customer is about to buy a product from your store, only to find out that it’s out of stock. Obstacles like these often occur during peak periods of the year (such as Black Friday), when everyone is rushing to get the best deal they can.

Going out of stock frequently is terrible news for your store. If customers can’t find what they’re looking for time and time again, they’ll drop negative reviews on your business. Even worse, they could go to the competition instead to get what they want.

How to Solve It:

Preventing stock-outs from ever happening all goes down to proper inventory management. You must analyze your current product demand and which items are the most popular among customers.

To prepare in advance, you must also monitor how demand fluctuates during busy periods of the year. For example, these can include dynamic dates such as Thanksgiving or the Christmas holidays. 

However, manually keeping track of inventory can be a time-consuming and frustrating process. It’s better to combine the use of an inventory system (such as Stock Sync) and an automation workflow platform such as Mesa to avoid stock-outs.

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Whenever an item is about to run out of stock, Mesa can automatically send a message to your inventory team via Slack so they can reorder the item. It’s going to save you so much time in advance from constantly keeping an eye on your inventory levels.

2. Shipping Issues

Once a customer makes a purchase and their items ship, they need clear information of where it's going. If not, they can get anxious and start to worry about their package, leading up to the dreaded “where is my package?” question. 

How to Solve It:

To give your customers peace of mind during their purchase, make sure to provide them with tracking information for their package. It offers them real-time data on their order, such as the day it ships and when they can expect to receive it at their doorsteps. 

Here’s an example of what providing shoppers with vital information on their order will look like from Tracktor, a popular order tracking app on Shopify:

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Leveraging automation goes a long way when it comes to making order tracking more useful for the customer. 

For example, if the customer’s package experiences a delay during transit, an automated workflow can send a text directly to the customer without doing it yourself. You can also set up workflows for sending texts each time the shopper receives their order at their doorsteps. 

3. Complicated Checkout Process

Any friction during the buying process is going to throw off customers. Not only will it prevent customers from following through with their purchase, but they could file complaints on your website experience.

For example, according to Google, 53% of web visitors will bounce off a page that loads for more than 3 seconds. It’s something to keep in mind, as not all customers have access to high-speed internet.

Adding too many steps in your checkout process can also be a major conversion killer. Customers don’t want to feel like they have to go through loops and holes just to make a purchase.

How to Solve It:

To avoid customer complaints, you’ll have to optimize your checkout page for conversion. For example, instead of having multiple pages for checkout, you can make their lives easier by including a single-page checkout:

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Next, making sure your checkout page’s web speed is fast will also be vital. It will contribute to a better customer experience and prevent shoppers from waiting too long to make their purchase. 

Considering that 63% of eCommerce traffic these days is coming from mobile, having a mobile-responsive checkout page will help. You’ll ensure that customers have a successful checkout experience regardless of the device they’re using.

4. Misleading Product Images and Descriptions

No one likes to get nasty surprises. When a customer buys a product that doesn’t match the images or descriptions, they’ll complain and rightfully decide to return the item. 

Product images and descriptions that are inaccurate can cost you a lot of money.  Not only will you have to refund the customer, but you’ll have to cover the shipping and transportation costs that go along with it.

How to Solve It:

Make sure that all of your product images and descriptions are as accurate as possible. Your product descriptions must include all the details that matter to the customer, like Gymshark does for all of its items:

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On top of adding critical information on their t-shirt’s material, they even include the model’s measurement. Thanks to Gymshark’s high-resolution images, they can also zoom in to understand the product’s material better.

The issue with eCommerce is that customers can’t examine your products upfront, unlike traditional brick and mortar stores. To overcome this roadblock and prevent nasty surprises, you can include videos of your product in action, just like Asos does for its own items:

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The customer will get a great idea of how the product will look on them before deciding to pull the trigger and purchase the item. That’s going to be less buyer’s remorse for your store. 

5. Damaged or Lost Items During Shipping

A lot of unexpected things can happen during your product’s transportation. A fragile item can get broken during shipment or even get lost on the way.

Whatever the case may be, it’s going to lead to a very disappointed customer. It’s no good for your revenue (since you'll have to cover the replacement costs), and overall makes your brand look bad.

How to Solve It:

To make it right, you'll have to apologize to the customer and provide them with a replacement to their broken product. Doing so shows you care and that you go the extra length to make sure they’re satisfied. 

That said, the key to preventing this issue in the first place is to use the correct packaging. There are various things you can do to make sure the packaging is protective enough, such as:

  • Adding enough cushioning material
  • Filling up empty space in the baggage
  • Putting a “fragile” label on vulnerable products

Also, applying for shipping insurance is going to be useful for your business. Not only is it easy to receive, but it’s going to help protect you from any financial losses in case things go wrong. 

Extra Tips for Speaking With Your Customers

By applying the tips above, you’ll be on your way to reducing your customer complaints and boosting your satisfaction rate. 

That said, it’s not 100% possible to completely eradicate complaints from coming in. In the case that a customer reaches you with negative feedback, here’s how you handle their inquiries effectively:

Always Be Polite

Online customers can get very brutal with their words. As tempting as it might be to speak, you must keep your calm and remain polite. If they can sense that you’re relaxed and have the situation under control, they’ll be more likely to calm themselves down eventually. 

Respond Fast

Once a complaint arises, another best practice is to respond to the request as fast as possible. Ideally, we recommend that you reply back to your customer within 24 hours of their complaint. 

A useful tool that helps respond quickly to customer complaints is Gorgias, which keeps all of your customer feedback in one dashboard. The platform also comes with all the order details of each customer, so that you can solve their issue much faster.

Follow up With the Customer

Once you resolve their issue, make sure to follow up with the customer to make sure they’re satisfied. 

The key when it comes to following up is to be proactive. You should automatically open support tickets for your customer support team. That way, they’ll be able to reach out to customers with updates before issues arise. 

As a bonus, you can also send them surveys they can use to rate your customer support service. 

Don’t Let Negative Customer Feedback Stop You


No matter how bad customer feedback might be, you can always turn it around to your benefit. The key is to listen to your customer’s complaints and do whatever is necessary to address them on your website. So next time a customer drops in negative feedback, you’ll know what to do!

To learn more about how using automation can help your store solve customer complaints quicker and more efficiently, you can try Mesa free for 14 days. Our customer success team is also more than happy to answer any question you may have on our platform. 

You can also check Arka's custom boxes that enhance unboxing experience and boost customer loyalty! You can find custom boxes for any niche: whether you need custom shoe boxes or custom folding cartons, Arka has got you covered!

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