5 ways to prevent common customer complaints

Nov 28 · 6 min read

More than half of all customers never will do business with you after only one negative experience. Unresolved customer complaints quickly turn into bad reviews. If you are not worried about bad reviews, think again — 74 percent of customers consider word of mouth as the primary driver of their purchasing decisions.

Building a good reputation from scratch is much easier than trying to fix your tarnished image. So, in this article, we will deal with preventing some of the most common customer complaints.

6 Most Common Customer Complaints

Here are the most common customer complaints in e-commerce:

1. Failing to meet purchasing expectations

In general, customers understand that with e-commerce, sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose. Put into practice, that means they are ready to forgive a little bit slower delivery in exchange for a lower price and high-quality product. When you go below these expectations, you are in for a customer complaint.

2. Lack of product information

Low-quality images and poor product descriptions are the number one customer complaint in e-commerce. A complicated website layout is a turn-off for 37 percent of customers. No optimization for mobile shopping also can be a source of problems — 44 percent of retail minutes are spent on a smartphone.

3. Complicated purchasing process

A third of online shoppers will abandon their shopping cart if they are forced to create an account on your website. A complicated purchasing process deters 74 percent of buyers. Customers are wary of sharing their personal information, and typical customer complaints refer to a lack of security warranties.

4. Bad logistics and shady return policies

Almost a quarter of customers will abandon their shopping carts for shipping reasons. Not being upfront about shipping costs or stacking them high is a major customer complaint. Also, customers often complain about the long wait, lousy return policies, and lack of warranties. This deters 80 percent of shoppers.

5. Slow website

Your online store’s loading speed is vital for more than one reason. Slow loading time is a deal-breaker for 57 percent of customers. When Google catches on, that slow loading also will downgrade your position in rankings, making it more challenging to reach your target audience and customers.

6. Bad customer support

When customers have a complaint, they want it immediately addressed. However, around 75 percent of them feel it takes too long to reach a live agent. And what is too long? For online customers, anything beyond five minutes.

Concerning customer support, other common complaints include:

  • Being shuffled around from one agent or department to another.
  • Feeling that agents do not care to solve their problem.
  • Agents incapable of solving the problem due to lack of information and resources.

How to Prevent Most Common Customer Complaints

So, once you identify the common customer complaints, it is easy to prevent them by paying particular attention to these details. If you want to get very specific, don’t skip the first step.

1. Analyze your customers and industry

If you want to set clear expectations for your customers and be able to deliver on them, you have to be fully aware of your target customers and the environment. Create a buyer persona to understand who exactly your buyers are, why they buy from you, and which problem you solve for them. This varies greatly based on your niche and business, but it also depends on your industry.

In general, if you have discovered a niche, or have few competitors, your customers don’t have a lot of choices. They are more likely to put up with some flaws here and there. But if you have a lot of competitors, you have to provide nothing short of perfection.

So, take a look at your main competitors, the things they have or do well, and the things they lack or don’t do well. Can you capitalize on any of them? Can you offer something they don’t? Can you tap into the upcoming industry trends your competitors haven’t foreseen? Here you will find a full guide on market opportunity analysis.

2. Set clear expectations and be transparent

If you want to minimize the possibility of customer complaints, be honest about your products. Include high-quality product images, detailed descriptions, testimonials, and reviews. Of course, you don’t have to advertise every flaw, but the more transparent you are, the fewer unpleasant surprises and, you guessed it, customer complaints.

According to BigCommerce, customers want

  • Options for product comparisons
  • More testimonials
  • More reviews
  • Fast website (click here to learn more about speed optimization)
  • Simple purchase process
  • Less data collection (although they are ready to budge in exchange for free shipping or discounts)
  • Favorable return policy (click here to learn how to protect both yourself and the customer)
  • Transparent shipping costs
  • Clear delivery times

Almost a fifth of all customers considers shipping costs their least favorite aspect of online shopping, while 15 percent hate waiting for the shipment to arrive. While shipping has to be paid (here are a few tips on making that as painless as possible) and people have to wait, the best thing you can do is be clear about shipping times.

Don’t promise what you cannot deliver. If somebody agrees to a one-week wait, that is the amount of dissatisfaction they are willing to endure. But if you go beyond that time, you will have a customer complaint.

3. Focus on live agents, or use chatbots

Even the best business practices cannot prevent all problems. So, what happens when customers want to file complaints?

Well, we already noted that for online shoppers, anything longer than five minutes is considered too long. Once that period expires, you have six more minutes in customers’ good graces. Reportedly, they hang up after eleven minutes of waiting.

Small businesses often cannot afford 24-hour live support, but there are ways to ensure efficient, quick responses under budget.

When it comes to simple inquiries, more than 60 percent of customers prefer digital self-serve tools, such as websites, apps, and chatbots to provide answers. For serious complaints, such as payment disputes, customers prefer face-to-face interaction (23 percent) or a phone conversation (50 percent).

Chatbots, on average, take 45 seconds to respond. For businesses on a budget, they can be a great way to vet customers with minor issues from those in need of serious assistance.

4. Educate your customer service agents

When we say educate, we mean both in terms of knowledge and customer interaction. You don’t have much choice on this front. Globally, more than half of all customers have higher customer service expectations than they did one year ago. So, how do you prevent more customer complaints once they already happen?

First of all, your customer service agents have to be empathetic. They shouldn’t just listen to customer complaints; they also must understand them. Empathy allows you to get to the source of the problem, which is often hidden underneath anger or misunderstanding.

Since customers detest being shuffled around, and often complain about agents incapable of helping them, education about customer service as well as your product should be a part of your customer service training.

In fact, 72 percent of customers expect the agent to “know who they are, what they have purchased, and have insights into their previous engagements.” Well-educated agents quickly can get to a source of the problem, solve it, and perform confidently.

5. Sorry shouldn’t be the hardest word

If the worst thing happens and you cannot resolve an issue, a simple sorry can go a long way. By that, we mean an apology in the form of a discount, unique gift, or free shipping on the next purchase.


Of course, no matter how hard you try to do your best, there always are going to be customer complaints. Some of them will be more or less deserved, but all feedback be valuable in fine-tuning your relationship with customers.

Another way to ensure perfect customer experience is teaming up with reliable partners. For e-commerce businesses, delivery service can make or break your online store. Want a partner who delivers and always goes the extra mile? Check out Fetchr!

We are Fetchr; a company specialized in e-fulfillment. We help e-commerce entrepreneurs grow their business in the Middle East. Let’s make it happen! One box at a time. Learn more here.

This blog is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be considered business or legal advice. MENA 360 DWC-LLC (Fetchr) will not be held liable for the use, non-use or misapplication of this information, lost profits, personal or business interruption, or any other loss.


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We’re on a mission to build the next generation of e-commerce entrepreneurs. Let’s make it happen. One box at a time!

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