How you think about complaints will determine how you deal with them


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How we think and feel about things can go a long way to explaining how we behave. For example, if you don’t like sales or networking or you find it hard to ask for help when faced with a problem there is a likelihood that this will manifest itself in how you behave or act when faced with these situations.

This is also true of how we deal with customers and complaints. Often, when I am asked to speak on customer service or conduct some training in this area, I ask the following question:

What do you and your team say to yourselves and each other when you talk about customers and complaints?

The responses I get range from:

  • They are very tricky and try to get us to give them things they haven’t paid for.
  • A lot of them are idiots
  • They stop me doing my work
  • Why can’t they read the instructions as it’s all in there?
  • Their complaints are really very minor
  • They are not very positive
  • It’s usually a problem with our system


  • They’re really nice people
  • They are easy to talk to
  • They just want us to solve their problem
  • All they really want is someone to listen

This range of responses takes courage and honesty as there can be a huge difference about what we think and how we feel when asked this question: 1. in a meeting, to 2. how we think and feel in the heat of a complaint moment.

How we think and feel at that moment of complaint will dictate, in large part, how we act towards the customer.

Let’s face it, no one likes it when a complaint arrives. However, by talking about complaints and developing a culture where you and your team get comfortable with complaints you’ll start to develop a stronger and more customer focused business.

To help you think about that for your business, here’s some questions about your business, your people, you and customer complaints:

  • What’s your business’ view of customer complaints?
  • Internally, how do you talk about complaining customers?
  • Do your team members view complaints as opportunities?
  • What happens when they can’t meet a customers needs? Do they blame policies?
  • What have you learned from your customers?
  • Do you encourage complaints?

How do you get yourself and your team more comfortable with complaints?

Thanks to Stefano Valle / for the image

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adrian Swinscoe
Adrian Swinscoe brings over 25 years experience to focusing on helping companies large and small develop and implement customer focused, sustainable growth strategies.


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