How to Handle Customer Complaints On Your Product or Service

I don’t mind new mistakes.  It’s the old ones that are repeatedly made that makes me question everything. – RDA

It’s normal for a business to face complaints from customers, take it as a room to improve and be better. I always say, complaints are either expensive mistake or expensive learning.

Before giving you my way of properly handling customer complaints, it’s best to identify some common types of complainers so you’d know how to handle them.

Types of Complainers:

Valid Complainer – these are customers with valid issue, valid error on your part that needs to be addressed the soonest time possible.

Pessimist Complainer – customers who will ALWAYS, ALWAYS find a mistake even after you’ve done the best for them, you cannot please this customer until he/she says it’s over.

Likes Your Service but Disagree with your Belief – customers who disagree with what you think, comply with, etc. so this customer will find you at fault at whatever.

Actual Enemy or Competitor – competitors who will do everything to paint a bad picture of you to make them look good.  Oh, don’t we all know someone like this?

Trolls – they feed on your responses and conflict so they LOVE creating more conflict.

Okay so here goes…

How to Resolve a Customer Complaint:

Speed is your game

Answer the complaint fast (even via email or phone or text). This will be greatly appreciated because you’re showing your concern and expressing your desire to resolve it.

Don’t avoid conflict 

We can learn more from complaints, it is an opportunity to improve and take it as a free service advice. Accept if it’s really your fault and take responsibility. Be upfront and give solutions rather than fueling the fire.

You can’t win them all

Remember that always especially after you’ve done the best remedy you could afford. There’s always a balance.

Get on the phone

Talk to the complainant on the phone and it might resolve things quicker than back and forth email. Sometimes, a personal call can do a whole lot more than just simple text or email where “written” emotions can be confused to something negative when it actually meant nothing.

Steps to guide you when answering a complaint:

Thank them for their time in giving the feedback. They can choose to blab about the negative experience in social media without letting you know first, so be thankful they took the time telling you.

Speak like a human being and do not sound like you are scripted.
Applies to phone and email.

Apologize for the bad experience and inconvenience. Of course you’ve inconvenienced them for having such a bad experience with your product or service.

Acknowledge it and ask for a time to investigate the matter properly and promise to get back to him/her the soonest time possible.

Remain calm and professional, no matter what.

Remember: Customers tell 3 people about your great/excellent service but tell 11 people about your bad service.

Take these guidelines and come up with your own process of handling your own customer complaints. It has to have your personal touch. It’s best to have it written somewhere your team (or yourself) can easily open up when faced with a complaint.

It’s easy to react the wrong way when you get complaints (especially if it’s not valid at all), so it would help if you have a written process to remind yourself that YOU ARE A BUSINESS and the complainant was a paying customer, after all.

So breathe, read, think, react and resolve.


  1. Mariza says:

    I have a previous post similar almost to this one, I was talking about how to handle an irate customer. Being a customer service rep is a demanding job, especially when the customer have already psyched themselves for a word battle with the agent on the onset of the call. A good take-away is that patience is a requirement for this job. You cannot fight fire with fire, it is wise to listen attentively. 🙂

  2. Badet Siazon says:

    You listed 4, but I think there’s a valid and invalid complaints lang haha. It’s nice to hear from your business-side. As a customer, I really really love when a business reaches out and acknowledges their mistake. Iba talaga pag may personal touch.

  3. Mommy Anna says:

    This is a good read, yah sometimes struggle ang customer complain. I worked at Jollibee before as a management trainee imagine nag complain at nagwawala si customer kasi 5 minutes pa ang thigh part. Eh lunch time yum madami tao, so hindi mo puwede patulan kahit inis ka na smile ka pa rin 🙂

  4. Ayi says:

    Great tips. Complaints are unavoidable since there are some things beyond yoir control. Nonetheless, it should be resolved in a calm and peaceful manner.

  5. Janice says:

    These are great tips. I do appreciate when businesses respond to my concerns fast. It shows that they value you by not making you wait too long. As long as they show me that they’re doing their best to resolve the issue, that will at least help keep me calm.

  6. Patty | MrsC says:

    I was part of the team that handled a premium brand before, and we had our share of demanding and irate clients. It really wasn’t easy, and it really takes a lot of patience and control. Your tips are helpful!

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