Good Business Practice – Managing Customer Complaints

The ramifications for the business are that they have definitely lost one customer and probably many more as the tale of their faulty product or service is spread by word of mouth. The business can’t do anything about it because they don’t know about it. Therefore the customer who complains is a person who is doing a service to the business and they should be treated accordingly.

Here are some basic steps to follow when dealing with a customer’s complaint.


  • Greet the customer, smile and tell them your name
  • Ask the customer for their name (always be respectful and use their title Mr., Mrs., etc.).
    Once they have given you their name continue using it throughout the discussion
  • Ask the customer the details of the complaint (it doesn’t work, couldn’t hear the microphone or the technician arrived late).
    Try not to interrupt the customer as people can become stressed when they are interrupted, particularly if it happens in the middle of a sentence
  • Acknowledge their distress about the problem. This is important as they won’t be interested in a solution until they have had their chance to vent their anger
    Paraphrase their problem back to them to ensure you have all the facts and they are reassured that you have been listening to them
  • Offer a solution (exchange the faulty product, offer a reduction of fees)
  • Give them something extra (an upgraded product, a discount on their next service, a voucher they can spend in the shop)
  • Thank them for assisting you by pointing out a problem and apologize for their inconvenience.
    Take care not to admit liability for the problem, just apologize for their inconvenience and distress
  • Record details about the complaint such as customer’s name and contact details, the product or service, how you dealt with it and how the customer reacted
  • Ring the customer a few days later to see if they are satisfied with their replaced product.
    Follow up after a problem ensures repeat business
    Train yourself and/ or your staff and maximise your performance.

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