How to Handle Customer Complaints Effectively

So, the worst thing has happened that you could think of. A customer has either come into your store and complained about something regarding the product they got or service they received. Or they left a negative review on an online site. Or they sent you an angry email that’s full of more angry terms that you can count. No matter how the complaint got to you, it’s important that you now take the steps to understand what’s wrong and find a common solution with your customer. You don’t want them to stay with the problem for too long because this will only turn them into more of a detractor for your company than they already are. And you definitely don’t want that! They’re just going to tell their friends and network how angry and dissatisfied they were with your service.

That’s why it’s crucial that anyone in your company who is dealing with customers knows how to process their complaints in a positive way. Below, we’re going to go through some of the top things that you need to keep in mind in order to process customer’s complaints effectively. Make sure that everyone on your customer service team and front-line staff members understand the below points to a tee.

Let the Customer Finish What They Have to Say and Listen to Them

The first thing that every front-line staff member needs to understand is how important is that they let the customer finish what they have to say without interruption. They should know how to deal with angry customers. This is the most important thing when it comes to customer service. If you cut off the customer without letting them finish their complaint, it comes across as if you don’t care about what you’re saying and would rather get on with your day, rather than helping them out. Make sure that your front-line staff members are actually listening to what the customer has to say with genuine concern.

And your customers are going to know if this interaction is fake! Consumers have a great radar for these kinds of things and can see it on your face whenever you don’t actually care for what they’re saying. And this is not only true for physical stores, even online queries and reviews of customers are valuable for the well-being of a business.

Be Sure to Always Ask Question in A Concerned and Careful Manner

The next important point that every person has to understand when working with customers is that the more information you get from him or her – the better. Make sure to ask plenty of questions in a caring manner to actually see their perspective better. When you do this, it shows to the customer that you really care about the problems they’re going through and want to understand more. Plus, this is going to help you find a more common solution that solves all of the problems that they are facing.

Many times, when customers get angry, there are other reasons that don’t come to surface at first. When you ask questions that get more into their complaint, this is going to help you get to the real issue at hand that needs to be solved.

Have Empathy for What They’re Going Through

One of the most crucial lessons in customer service is that of empathy. Without empathy for what customers are going through and putting yourself in their shoes, there is no way that you’re going to find a common solution together. This is the same in many areas of life. You have to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and walk a bit before you understand where they’re coming from.

A lot of the times, frontline staff members assume that customers don’t actually have a problem and they are just overreacting. However, most of the times, this isn’t the case and the customers actually have a genuine problem that they are dealing with. Make sure to listen to them and actually care about the solution that you come up with together.

For example, if your customer is dealing with a technical problem, make sure that the front-line staff is well versed with the technical aspects of the services and products to be able to handle customer complaints in that area. Your front-line staff members should be able to see why the customer might be experiencing difficulty and come up with a solution together. Therefore, keep in mind the skills needed for digital transformation of the business, when hiring them.

Be Sure to Apologize, But Never Blame

Many times, you might think that the best thing to do would be to blame a specific person or department for the problem that the customer is facing. However, blame game makes the problem even worse. Customers don’t want to see blame going around the company. They want a real apology and to create a solution that makes their experience better. That’s why it’s much better to say “I’m sorry” rather than “Oh, that was someone else in another department”. You’re going to see a much more angry and frustrated customer when you don’t say I’m sorry.

Ask Them What They Think an Acceptable Solution Could Be

A lot of the times, your customer is going to already have a solution or two in mind to their problem. It’s important to take the time to ask them what they think the best solution for them would be and what they would be happy with. For example, they might think that returning the item for a full refund would be satisfactory. Or they might just want a discount on a future purchase. Or the customer might want a full policy change in the company that would require a lot more effort on your part. However, when you actually become a partner with them in solving the problem and identify what the right solution could be, rather than an adversary, you are going to be able to come up with a much more beneficial solution for everybody involved.

Solve the Problem or Have Someone Else Solve the Problem

Lastly, it’s important that customers complaints are solved as soon as possible. It’s been shown from various studies that customers want their problems to be solved instantly. While that might not be possible in many situations, it’s crucial that you take the time to find a solution in the quickest way possible. Now, this might not be your call to make. If that’s the case, then make sure to find someone ASAP who can solve the problem. When you send up a message up the chain of command and wait for a solution to come, this can draw out the process even more and make the customer even angrier.

Customer complaints are a normal part of any business. Whenever you are providing a product or service to customers, there are going to be things wrong that make them angry or frustrated. When that happens, make sure that you are prepared to handle this effectively and find a common solution together.


A traveller by day and reader by night' is how I would sum up my life. My wanderlust led me to quit my cushy job at 28 and finally embark on a journey around the world. Since then, I have lived in many countries and soaked in as many books as possible during my travel journeys. Among them, the "Book of Mirdad" is still my personal favourite and holds a special place in my heart. My progression towards writing was inevitable and happened quite naturally. I have been writing for a few years now an...

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