Best practices for handling customer complaints

Whether anyone wants to admit it or not, every contractor has had a few of those clients that have made the process even more difficult with their list of demands or all sorts of complaints. When conflicts arise, it’s never easy – and definitely never fun – to deal with them, but finding a solution can be smooth and speedy if you take the right actions.

Don’t be afraid of complaints
Complaints are nothing to be afraid of because for each customer whose complaint you handle well, most will remain loyal to you and still recommend you to other potential customers.

Record complaints
When a complaint is filed, be sure to write it down or get it in writing straight from the client. Not only will this help you to not forget any details but it will also be great to have for any future reference.

Put your own feelings aside, act promptly and stay calm
The best way you can handle a complaint is by not letting your personal emotions get in the way and calmly listening to what they have to say. When you get to the heart of the matter quickly, you are more likely to satisfy the customer and calm them down.

Don’t challenge their complaint
It’s human instinct to get defensive and to want to tell a customer that they are wrong in something they’re saying but that definitely won’t help you solve the issue at hand. To stop the customer from getting any more upset about their complaint, make sure the customer feels that they are being listened to.

Thank your customer
Refer back to the old saying “kill them with kindness” and you’ve got it. Let your customer know that you are thankful for their business and specifically for sharing their complaint/concern. This presents you with the opportunity to listen to them, make them feel appreciated and give them the understanding that you want to listen to them.

Decide what can be done
Even if you believe that the complaint is unjustified, it’s definitely worthwhile to try and make the customer happy. If you’ve listened to what they’ve said, you should be able to offer a few different options for what can be done to fix the issue. Of course, the ideal situation would be one perfect way to fix what’s wrong but that’s not always the way it works. But keep in mind that truly supporting your customer means giving them something in response to their complaint and it’s up to you to figure out what that something is.

Don’t make unrealistic promises
Never back yourself into a corner by making promises, especially after a customer has just filed a complaint. If there isn’t an outright solution to whatever they have an issue with, you don’t want to be stuck promising that you’ll be able to fix it. And if no resolution is available, consider how else you can help them so they will leave the situation happy, or at least content

Let your client know that you are sorry for any inconvenience or disappointment that was caused and you might be surprised by how far a genuine apology goes. And even if they still aren’t completely satisfied, it will leave a good impression on them at the very least.

Follow up
At this point, you’ve apologized and showed your appreciation and support for your customer in many different ways but it doesn’t hurt to consider how else you can support any unhappy customers. By reaching out to any unsatisfied customers through a handwritten note, email or phone call, your company is showing that they genuinely care about a customer’s complaints and concerns.

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