The Professional Way of Handling a Difficult Situation: Learn to Deal with Customer Complaints in 5 Easy Steps


Upset customers are part and parcel of the retail industry. Unfortunately, no matter how good your customer service is, something will inevitably go awry in the order process at some point, and you could be left with an unhappy customer.

However, a mishap in the order process doesn’t have to be a calamity. It can be an opportunity to show off the impeccable customer service your company offers. When handled the right way, dealing with a customer complaint effectively can leave the customer happier than they would have been had the problem not occurred.

These are five steps to handling a customer complaints that will allow your business to turn mistakes and complaints into a positive experience and increase your customer loyalty and brand image.

Deal with Customer Complaints in 5 Easy Steps

how to deal customer complaints

1# They That Receives the Complaint Must Own the Complaint

The first person that the customer reaches out to when making a complaint, should be the person to solve the issue. When a customer reaches out to report a problem, they want a champion who is going to find a solution, not someone who wants to pass responsibilities on to someone else.

No matter what the complaint, the first person should take steps to solve the issue and only pass them over to another employee if that employee will be able to solve the problem immediately.

2# Empathize and Thank the Customer

When listening to the customer’s complaint, you want to do two things. Firstly, empathize. The customer wants to know that you agree that what has happened to them is unacceptable and that you are both on the same page.

Apologize to them without trying to shift the blame onto someone else. Say something like, “I am sorry this happened to you,” rather than try blaming another department.

Secondly, thank the customer for bringing it to your attention. Many customers don’t bother to complain, they simply avoid using the service or product again. These are the customers that didn’t even give your company an opportunity to rectify the issue.

The fact that this customer has elected to make a complaint means they are effectively willing to give your company a chance to defend itself and solve the problem. For that, they deserve thanks.

3# Ask the Customer What Their Expectations Are

Give the customer an input in what the solution should look like. Ask them what a solution would look like in their eyes or what you can do to make it up to them.

By doing this, not only are you collaborating with the customer in the problem-solving process, you are essentially saying, “what can we do to keep your loyalty to the brand?”

4# Deliver a Solution that Is Acceptable to Both Parties 

Once you know the customer’s expectations, you can commit to solving the issue. If you need some time to do so, give them a set time frame for when they can expect a solution. Say “I need some time to do this, I will call you back in an hour,” and then stick to this deadline. Don’t leave the customer waiting to find out if you have solved the issue.

5# Follow Up and Learn

Once the problem is solved, follow up with the customer to inform them that you heard their complaint and took it seriously. In this conversation, it is a good idea to provide a brief explanation of what measures are now in place to avoid the issue occurring again.

The final part is to carry out internal working modifications. There should be a lesson taken away from every single complaint. That could mean a more stringent customer verification process. Verify your customers any time with Netverify. It could mean updating your IT solutions to ensure a more seamless order process, or it could mean investing in further staff training. Each complaint is an opportunity for business development.

By handling complaints in this way, you ensure each customer has a positive experience when interacting with your company, even when they file a complaint. It could mean the difference between a customer never using your company again, and telling ten friends never to use your company, and earning a customer for life.

Author: Sophia Williams