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Receiving customer complaints is a part of being in business, although hopefully not too frequently. Everyone makes mistakes, customers are often unreasonable and sometimes your suppliers and distributors let you down.

Dealing with a customer complaint correctly is the pinnacle of good customer service, however I have noticed that customer service in Britain is a little bit… erm…lax. Not that our continental neighbours fare much better in this department. I think it’s likely that the reason why customer complaints are so badly handled is that few  people have actually learned or been trained how to deal with them in the first place.

So what to do?

A few hours poking around on the internet and a couple of training courses later and this is what I have found.

A complaint is a fantastic opportunity to show how good your service is, handle a complaint professionally and you will walk away with a very happy and loyal client.

When you received a customer complaint follow these basics steps:

  1. Remain calm, do not be defensive, apologise for the inconvenience that the other person has suffered
  2. Listen to the complaint and reassure the person that you understand the problem, do not ask them to put it in writing, the customer has chosen the medium through which they wish to voice their concerns. Respect that.
  3. Ask if there is anything that you could do to rectify the situation, if they haven’t already explained
  4. Offer the client a solution and thank them for informing you of the problem


  • Argue with them or disagree
  • Get defensive
  • Make excuses
  • Blame them for the mistake or highlight any mistakes they have made in the process

Remember the customer does not work for your organisation, they have only one obligation in the transaction, to pay, and everything else is your responsibility.