How to effectively handle complaints

I’ve just read a fantastic article about complaint handling by management consultant Jon Stephenson. The article makes some great points about how to handle complaints in a simple and effective way. 

I’ve listed the main points here, and at the end of this blog I’ve included a link so that you can read Jon’s full article, which I highly recommend. Here are the main points of the article:

Your number one priority:
  • Deal with the complaint immediately - don't put it to one side.
  • Free up time to resolve the complaint by delegating or rescheduling other work.
  • Ensure that the customer knows you are treating their complaint seriously and with urgency.

Own it throughout:
  • Ensure the customer knows that you are owning their complaint.
  • Keep them informed throughout your investigations.
  • Continue to own the complaint even if you need to call upon other departments.

Match response to demand:
  • Tailor your response - using the same method, style and tone, where appropriate, as your customer.
  • Address all of the points raised by the customer.
  • Reach a fair resolution.

Always empathise:
  • Apologise for the mistake or action that caused the customer's dissatisfaction.
  • Thank the customer for giving you the opportunity to put things right.
  • Look at the complaint from your customer's point of view.

Provide support on demand:
  • Call upon any additional support you need to resolve the complaint.
  • Ensure they understand exactly what you need from them.
  • Make sure they treat it with the same priority.

Sort it out fully:
  • Make sure that all of the follow-up actions are completed within agreed timescales and to the required level.
  • Don't sacrifice quality for speed of resolution.
  • Identify the root cause of the complaint and take preventative action.

You can read the full article here: