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At some point a business is going to have a complaint made against it, it’s only a matter of time. That is part of the nature of being in business. So the important thing is to know how to act when this happens.


1.      Don’t Point the Finger

Whether the issue was caused by you, the customer or a member of your staff it doesn’t really matter. What matters now is fixing it. Start by collecting as much information as you can about the situation, where it began to go wrong and what could have been done differently to prevent it. This means speaking to your staff and the customer to get the full picture.


2.      Approach the customer with empathy

Remember that at this stage the customer is disappointed in the service or product you have provided. Empathise with the customer, how would you feel if the tables were turned? Take this frame of mind forward when talking with the customer.


3.      Go Over and Above

When discussing a resolution with the customer, think about how you can make that customers day. This might seem like an odd thing to consider, but this is about brand management as well as customer relations. Going over and above can easily turn a bad situation into a great one. With complaint handling, there’s always an opportunity to retain that customer and improve their opinion of your business.


4.      Learn From the Experience

Once resolved make sure you look back at what could have been done to avoid the situation, again remembering not to blame anyone. Identify the cause and put in place a remedy to ensure this doesn’t happen again. If appropriate you could make the customer aware of the changes so they understand you have taken responsibility and acted accordingly.


5.      Keep calm and Carry On

Believe it or not a complaint isn’t the end of the world. It won’t ruin your business or your reputation, as long as you deal with it in the correct way.

However, it is vital that you keep calm, empathetic and analytical throughout, to avoid saying or doing something you’ll later regret.


This list is by no means exhaustive so we’d love to hear your thoughts. Any other tips to include? Let us know in the comments.


About The Author

Kara Copple

An experienced business and finance writer, sometimes moonlighting as a fiction writer and blogger.

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