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How to deal with customer complaints

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How to deal with customer complaints

'You can't please everyone' is true in every aspect of life, but it rings even truer when running a business.

Zero complaints are unheard of, and it's an inevitable part of running your business. Not only do complaints highlight some areas for improvement, but they also help you build your business by strengthening its ability to bounce back from setbacks.

Even the fiercest of people pleasers will struggle to get 100% glowing reviews every single time from each customer.

Every business encounters complaints. Even if you're doing things right every time, you're always going to encounter those 'difficult' customers (and it'll happen regardless of whether you're B2B or servicing the general public).

But let's not focus on the complaint itself. Complaints are always going to happen. It's all about how we resolve them.

Complaints are not a setback, but an opportunity

See a complaint not as a setback, but more of an opportunity to bounce back and sew up the damage.

Managing complaints efficiently will help you...

  • Develop and build your business
  • Train customer service teams
  • Foster stronger connections with customers
  • Help you recognise future flaws and prevent the same complaint from occurring
  • Improve customer retention
  • Gain positive reviews

We all learn from mistakes, see the silver lining of the complaint and use the situation to improve.

Working hard to resolve a complaint shows your business...

  • Cares about it's reputation
  • Is willing to make improvements
  • Values the customer

Whether or not a customer returns will hinge on how you've dealt with their issue or query. It all rests on how well you can patch up the issue.

How to deal with difficult complaints

To deal with complaints, adopt habits like...

  • Active listening
  • Acceptance
  • Honesty
  • Offering discounts and freebies
Presence of service and active listening

Always be there for your customers. Answer their calls, reply to their emails, and be available to chat if they have problems. When customers know they can reach you easily, they'll trust your business more.

Accepting that things go wrong sometimes

No one's perfect, and sometimes things will go wrong. The important thing is to accept it and let your customers know you're working on a solution.


Be honest about what has happened and tell them how you plan to fix it.

Offering discounts and freebies

Sometimes, saying sorry might not be enough. You might need to offer something extra, like a discount on their next purchase, a free product, or an extended service. Freebies are the ultimate antidote, they help completely dissolve any issues.

This shows the customer that you genuinely care about making things right.

Retaining loyalty and preventing future problems

To keep customers loyal, it's good to have prevention tactics. This will help you retain your customer base, regardless of any wobbles.

To prevent any complaints from reoccurring, it's good to...

  • Have a feedback system
  • Check your quality
  • Train staff in your complaints procedure
  • Regular checks
  • Keep flawless communication
Have a feedback system

Have a way for customers to give feedback regularly. This helps you catch problems early. Track conversations with chatbots when your team are out of the office, and send automatic review prompts after purchases.

Check your quality

Make sure everything you sell or do passes a quality check so that your customers get the best every time.

Train staff in your complaints procedure

Train your staff to handle complaints as well as you can in your complaints procedure, so that the issue can be patched up quickly.

Regular checks 

Stay on top of what customers need and want.

Keep flawless team communication 

No one likes repeating themselves when filing a complaint. Make sure the details are recorded on your CRM so that all team members can access the complaint details.

Dealing with complaints can be a bit challenging sometimes. But it's an essential part of business operations. Ultimately - it all comes down to people skills and communication.

View each complaint as an opportunity to strengthen the business-customer relationship, and it will boost your client retention in no time.

By listening actively, apologising sincerely, and empathising with the customer you can effectively resolve customer complaints and turn unhappy customers into loyal advocates for your business.

And who says you can't please everybody?

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