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Business Unplugged™
This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.

Small Business Tips for Dealing with Customer Complaints

Written By: Carol Roth | Comments Off on Small Business Tips for Dealing with Customer Complaints

Virtually every small business and entrepreneur has had to deal with customer complaints or negative feedback at some point. So, how do you turn that negative into a positive? Well, we have asked the incredible CarolRoth.com contributor network of business owners, experts, advisors and entrepreneurs to share their best tips for handling complaints. Their answers are presented below, in no particular order.

You may notice some similar ideas listed, but I kept them separate, as something in the way one is framed may resonate differently with you.

1. Win Back Customers With Images

My best tip for dealing with customer complaints and negative feedback is to include images in your reply. That could mean a photo of the product being replaced, a selfie from the service person fixing the issue, or an annotated screenshot where you circle the problem in red.

Visual aids like this are a great way to win a customer’s confidence, and they’re great on public platforms like Yelp or social media pages.
Thanks to: Gregg DeRouanna of CCTV Security Pros.

2. Take the Conversation Offline!

When customer complaints occur in a public forum, the best thing to do is take them offline as quickly as possible. This way, your other customers/clients will not see a back and forth discussion or situation focused on a less than satisfying experience. As soon as possible, send the customer a private message (or email) or get on the phone with them in order to resolve the issue.

This is particularly important if private information such as card numbers or order numbers are involved!
Thanks to: Alexis Davis of The Content Plug.

3. Hand Write Your Feedback

As Owner/Founder of my company Shipwash Properties, I personally send a card directly to the customer that had an issue with our service. I always hand write my apologies and give them my direct line to contact me so I can help resolve the issue and to ask them for feedback on how we could have avoided this problem. Receiving a card with a handwritten message directly from the owner of the company has been successful in resolving customer issues.
Thanks to: Jeff Shipwash of Shipwash Properties.

4. Hire Them!

I have noticed that the people who leave snarky, disgruntled reviews about my apparel company usually have great writing skills. Some negative reviews are truly laugh-out-loud funny while also being filled with descriptive and informative writing. What if you reached out to a negative reviewer with a… job offer? Bringing people on in a freelance capacity is easier than ever, and individuals that leave negative reviews are often well-versed in the dynamics of online customer service.
Thanks to: Hosea Chang of Hayden Girls.

5. Think Like a Customer

Put yourself in the shoes of your customers. Think and feel like one and understand the full situation from their perspective. From there, you build your rapport, share common grounds, let them understand which processes or offerings that you may act on to resolve an issue. Building a dedicated team with systematic escalation points should also help to address different levels of customer complaints.
Customer complaints are great in identifying possible gaps in your service.
Thanks to: James Idayi of Cloudzat.

6. Listen Intently

When you receive negative feedback from a customer, listen to what they say so you can consistently make improvements. Customer complaints and negative feedback are often the most valuable nuggets of information for business owners.
Thanks to: Kristin Marquet of Marquet Media, LLC.

7. Speed is Your Friend

Speed is your friend. When a customer complains about something, do your utmost best to solve their problem as fast as possible.

That way, you show you care about their satisfaction. Also, customer complaints solved fast enough quite often turn into customer satisfaction, one expressed vocally to their friends, family, and the internet.

So, you get to win both ways. First, you keep the current customer and you might get new ones in the future.
Thanks to: Nikola Roza of SEO for the Poor and Determined.

8. Shut Up and Listen

Let's be honest. If you own your own business, you've poured your blood, sweat, and tears into it. So, it's hard not to take customer complaints personally and want to defend yourself. Be self aware enough to squash that reaction and just listen. Most of the time, people just want to feel heard. Listen and empathize with their issue. Apologize and offer a solution to fix it. Even if it wasn't your fault!
Thanks to: Erik Wright of New Horizon Home Buyers.

9. Research & Deliver

Researching into your audience’s pain points and delivering a much-needed resolution will help reduce the number of complaints received initially, however, sometimes we can miss the mark.
Treat each complaint as a chance to improve or better your product or services. Focus on those with constructive criticism, and not just those solely opinionated.
Review each complaint when you're in a positive mindset, as this will help you find a resolution to the problem easier.
Thanks to: Nicola Bleu of Your Creative Aura.

10. It's Just Part of Business

Some customer complaints are valid and others are just people who like to complain. It's annoying when you know someone is just fishing for a refund or discount and doesn't actually have a valid complaint. Be able to discern the difference and address any valid complaints with great customer service and find a solution. If it's bogus, then you have to decide if it's actually worth the confrontation. Most of the time, it's not. It's just part of doing business.
Thanks to: Erik Wright of Dream Team Fundraising.

11. Sincerity and Kindness

Make your response as sincere as possible. One way to convey sincerity is to address the customer by name. You show that what you say is not an automated response, but rather a real one that might inspire the customer to collaborate and be less combative with you. Being sincere involves being able to apologize as well. You should apologize whether or not you agree with the customer's complaint. Apologizing shows integrity, which is vital for your professional image.
Thanks to: Satya Parija of DoctorSpring.

12. EQ > IQ

We often get asked by clients how to respond to complaints online, especially on social media. We tell them to start with a short sincere public acknowledgement of the customer's situation. It's important to the customer (and anyone watching the review thread) that you present a tone of understanding that you feel their frustration and plan to make it right. Then move the convo to DM or email. A bit of empathy goes a long way toward defusing a bad public transaction and protecting your rep.
Thanks to: Jason Myers of The Content Factory.

13. Acknowledge and Implement

I welcome complaints and negative feedback more than positive feedback. Positive feedback is helpful, but does not tell me where I or the business can grow. The negative feedback helps me focus on problem areas I may not see. Even more so if the complaints come from multiple people. In my opinion, negative feedback is one of the most valuable tools. I listen, acknowledge, assess what to do, and implement as needed to improve the customer experience, and by proxy, the overall business experience.
Thanks to: Nathan DeMetz of Nathan DeMetz Personal Training.

14. OOPS! Response System

We all mess up. Sometimes in small, annoying ways and other times, it's a colossal f-up. Follow the "OOPS!" system to recover with grace and dignity for you both.

It's simple. Recognize your responsibility and that you:

* Owe them: A response that acknowledges their grievance. It's real to them.
* Own it: Even if it's not your fault, own the situation and their unhappiness.
* Prove yourself: Be worthy of their continued business.
* Solve it: Figure out the win-win. It's there. Find it.
Thanks to: Martha Sullivan of Provenance Hill Consulting, LLC.

15. Take a Few Deep Breaths

Receiving a bad review is inevitable for any business that has an online profile. Unfortunately, you will not be able to please everyone, and sometimes people will be unreasonable. When you do receive a bad review, take a few deep breaths and some time before you respond. You want a clear head before you respond and maybe say something you will regret later. Don't be immature or attack the reviewer. Apologize and ask how you can remedy the situation.
Thanks to: Ben Walker of Transcription Outsourcing, LLC.

16. Meet Them Where They are At!

With 25 years of customer service under my belt, the one constant thing I see is that the average irate customer is rarely genuinely upset about the subject of their complaint. They almost always have an underlying theme - feeling unheard, feeling disrespected, an unknown impact on their life or business, etc. The best way to handle this - really listen and get to the root of their problem, and work to solve it. Meet them where they're at and you'll never go wrong!
Thanks to: Cheri Terhorst of EthanolUS, LLC.

17. Don't Take Yourself Seriously

A wise man told me many years ago, take what you do seriously, but not yourself.

Negative feedback is a blessing. If taken in the right way, it gives you the ability to either grow or cement your offering and realize that your job is not to please everyone. If the criticism comes from your target audience, then heed it and learn from it. If not, smile, say thank you and focus on those you can add value to.
Thanks to: Ben Baker of Your Brand Marketing.

18. Ears on and Zip the Lip!

Don't jump in first to defend your point of view. Listen like crazy and don't interrupt. When they've finished speaking, say: "Tell me more." Allow the person to say whatever is bothering them. Then say: "Is there anything more?" and listen. Once they've said their piece, you can reply with compassion and understanding. If there is a problem that you created, take responsibility for it and offer your solution. If it was out of your control, say so and express your empathy for their experience.
Thanks to: Randy Peyser of Author One Stop, Inc.

19. Have a Positive Attitude

It's important to approach customer complaints with a positive attitude. Be grateful for the feedback, because it gives you an opportunity to improve your product or service.

Not only does this make you more receptive to change, it also improves your response. Instead of being defensive and potentially annoying the customer more, it makes you more humble and understanding. And this is likely to make the customer feel better for communicating with you.
Thanks to: Jon Rhodes of Narcissisms.

20. We Have Two Ears & One Mouth

You’ve likely heard the saying we have two ears and one mouth for a reason, so we listen more than we speak.

This is so important when listening to a customer complaint.

Listen to what the issue is and ask how you can make things right.

Customers want to be heard and, when they feel heard, they can often be made into raving fans (instead of complainers about your brand and products or services)!
Thanks to: Stephanie Hackney of Branding Masters.

21. It's Valuable Feedback!

A customer complaint is valuable feedback, treat it as such! Use it to improve your company's performance, adjust your processes, learn from it. Read the feedback, check if it's reasonable and act accordingly. Don't deny it, accept, say you're sorry that this happened to that particular customer and take action. Take each complaint seriously, follow up and follow through. And make sure they know you listened, took them seriously and took action.
Thanks to: Erwin Wils of Millionaire Life Strategy.

22. Full Focus, Quick Resolution

When a customer has a complaint, avoid a negative online review by immediately coming to their rescue. Actively listen to the problem, stay patient and positive, and be proactive by having management-approved multiple solutions at the ready. Show that you genuinely want to help them. If they are not absolutely happy, ask your boss to step in: I’ve often found that a customer will be satisfied with a manager’s solution, even if I had just told them the exact same thing!
Thanks to: Karen Condor of AutoInsurance.org.

23. Delivery Fee Complaints

One of the most common complaints we see as a delivery service is the delivery fee. Yes, we all hate it, however a great way to address this complaint is informing users that it’s how we pay our couriers. Some people don’t understand the delivery fees, so just giving them that information can be a good way to resolve that. If there are any further complaints about it, just discuss all the great benefits to delivery as opposed to going in-store.
Thanks to: Chris Vaughn of Saucey.

24. Trust is Key

One way you can think about customer complaints and negative feedback is through the lens of trust. Trust is the natural consequence of promises fulfilled, expectations met, and values lived. With that, CEOs/leaders should view any feedback they receive through that lens and if the complaint has to do with a broken promise, expectations not being met, or an experience that is contrary to the company’s values – the only solution is to do what is necessary to regain trust.
Thanks to: Maida Zheng of The Logos Consulting Group.

25. Truth in Negative Feedback

You can't please everyone - but often there is some truth to negative feedback. When an attendee to one of my presentations mentioned I needed to include more research to back up my points, I didn't take it personally. Instead, I took the valid point she had made and incorporated studies and statistics into my webinar. Now, I feel confident that the empirical research strengthens my arguments.
Thanks to: Kerry Wekelo of Actualize Consulting.

26. Live Chat is Life Saving

A complaint we often saw, as consumers, about online stores was the lack of help that is easily available to you. Some websites only would provide a customer service email, and that email would be generally unresponsive. When we created our e-commerce website, we wanted to resolve that issue by incorporating a live chat directly on our site. Live chat is great because it gives consumers accessibility straight from your website without having to abandon to seek support elsewhere.
Thanks to: William Schumacher of Uprising Food.

27. It's Worth the Price

You will sometimes see consumers complain that your product is expensive. Though, as a part of the company, you know your product's value and can assure it is not overpriced, so a good way to address this complaint is to just be upfront about why the product is priced the way it is. For example, at my company we use premium ingredients that are valued higher than if we used a lesser quality of ingredient. We say that’s why our sauces taste as good as they do!
Thanks to: Jing Gao of Fly by Jing.

28. Talk To Your Customers

The biggest thing that drives customers crazy is the inability to get a response when there is an issue. The best thing you can do to enhance your reputation and take care of your customers is to be easily accessible to them. We put our phone number in big writing at the top of every page of our website. You can always speak to a real human being. And if we ever get an email or a product review with a problem, we respond immediately. Treat your customers with respect. They will love you for it!
Thanks to: Craig Wolfe of CelebriDucks.

29. Be a Listening Ear

Customer experience for your product is about what can your brand give to its customers. MitoQ joins in the same voice as science institutions and lab experts since we are leaders in mitochondrial research, and it's important for us to be as transparent on social media as we are on our website and email marketing. When a customer complains, immediately responding to them, taking the time to listen to their concerns and finding out how they want the issue to be addressed can go a long way.
Thanks to: Shaun Price of MitoQ.

30. The Dreaded Bad Review

Bad reviews are frustrating and can feel devastating. Good customer service is the key. Before that review ever hits the Internet, you have provided good customer service to this person. Respond to the review -- first with gratitude and then with the info about what you did for the customer. Of course, you do not want to embarrass the person or violate any confidentiality, but usually, you can say that you did respond, you offered these solutions and resolutions. Customer service is key.
Thanks to: Donna Price of Compass Rose Consulting, LLC.

31. Show Them You Want to Improve

A customer appreciates a company that wants to improve its operation and learn from experiences.

If the small business recognizes the fact that they can improve in a specific way and that they'll use this experience as a way to grow, the customer will feel heard and respected.

This can help alleviate any tension and limit the damage of an unhappy customer.
Thanks to: Damien Trevatt of Black Hat World.

32. No More Lip Service

It is important to take the time to ensure you're addressing your customers' needs. When you can accumulate genuine feedback from past customers, that's the tipping point for when you can start pouring gasoline on ad budgets. However, when it comes to negative feedback, make sure you listen carefully to what the customer is saying. Make note of their feedback and don't just give them lip service. Let them know you're serious about doing what it takes to keep them as a customer.
Thanks to: Jonathan Snow of The Snow Agency.

33. Suck It Up Buttercup

Sit with negative feedback/customer complaints and write them on a sticky note. Put the sticky note in a jar or a box followed by having a real conversation with yourself. Is the customer noticing a trend or habit you have as a business owner? If there is some truth to the complaint OWN it and redirect it.

Keep those complaints in a jar/box and at the end of the year, identify where you strengthened your areas of challenge and give yourself a pat on the back!
Thanks to: Jessica M. Williams of JMW Career Consulting.

34. Respect Earns Respect

The one best tip we have for customer complaints and negative feedback is to always respect the customer. If you are disrespectful to them, believe me, it will hurt you in the long run. Showing respect, even when they are complaining and being negative, will only do you good in the future.
Thanks to: Patrick Duku of Verified Gambler.

35. Common Theme for Complaints?

The best way to deal with customer complaints and feedback is to recognize patterns in what people are complaining about. Are they complaining about shipping times on their items, or are they complaining about customer service? Hear them out, thank them for their feedback and find ways to solve the problem in the moment, but think about ways to ensure that more complaints won't happen in the future.
Thanks to: Dylan Kim of Brevite.

36. Respond Publicly (& Privately)

We get a lot of business from people who find our many 5 star reviews, so when we get negative feedback, we take it very seriously. We try our best to turn the negative review into a marketing opportunity by directly responding to the review in-person (or by phone) and online.

We thank them for the feedback, acknowledge the complaint, and outline anything we can possibly think of that could have been done differently to prevent this. We tell the customer about our plan first and then execute!
Thanks to: John Gluch of Gluch Group.

37. Ask for Patience

One complaint that all companies that have anything to do with marketing will encounter is a client who feels that they just aren't receiving the conversions for which they'd hoped. Illustrate how the movement that they're looking for doesn't happen overnight, and a little patience will typically end in a positive outcome. Finally, provide a detailed plan of how you will ensure they are happy with your services, and where you plan to pivot to provide them with the results they're after.
Thanks to: Greg Gillman of MuteSix.

38. The Customer Is Always Right

Take the attitude that the customer is always right. The customer IS always right since complaints are actually a win-win for you. You can fix problems. Start by restating the customer's complaint. This makes the customer feel understood. Then, apologize for the error to get the customer off the offensive. Even if you don't feel you're wrong, you can apologize for the inconvenience or the confusion. End by telling the customer how you'll make reparations. This will restore goodwill.
Thanks to: Janice Wald of Mostly Blogging.

39. Strive for a Solution

Most businesses understand the importance of customer feedback, but not all of them actually employ any means to actually acquire it regularly. Existing customers can provide critical information to make your business better. You should strive to care about the things your customers care about, including complaints and negative feedback. Address them right away. Show that you are committed to helping solve the issues. This goes a long way with retaining customers.
Thanks to: Dennis Hegstad of LiveRecover.

40. Team Up With the Customer

When customers bring complaints to you, be sure to make them feel like you are on their side and want to help them out, as well. They will be quicker to want to work through the problem with you rather than simply complain, and will appreciate that their voice was heard. It also reduces the risk of losing that customer, and they may even recommend you to others because of your fantastic customer service!
Thanks to: Michael Fischer of Elite HRT.

41. Find Complaints First

Most customers complain in a public forum as a last resort. Before that, they’ll talk to others (telling 9 to 25 people about your service).

Catch their complaints before they reach the public eye with post-service emails & surveys as part of your after sales process. Seek out complaints & look to rectify them before they reach your website or Google.

With a proactive approach, you’ll improve your public image & develop stronger relationships with customers at the same time.
Thanks to: Mitchel Harad of Expert Opportunities.

42. A Chance to Improve

When big corporations receive negative feedback, often the customer is placated and everyone moves on. As a small business, you can set yourself apart by treating every piece of negative feedback as a chance to improve your offering. If an ideal customer doesn’t like something about your product or service, fix the issue and tell the customer how you’re addressing the issue. It’ll help them feel valued and enable you to better meet the needs of your target market. Listening can be a USP!
Thanks to: Kelly Wade of K. M. Wade.

43. Can't Make Everyone Happy

You have to know that it's impossible to please everyone and that complaints will come no matter how hard you try; hence, all you need to do is let reviewers know you have received their feedback and that you're taking their opinion into consideration, but even when doing so, your priority should be to keep doing your best. If you do this, then positive feedback will come without even trying and will overshadow all those negative comments.
Thanks to: Sam Shepler of Testimonial Hero.

44. Give Them Hard Data

When I used to work as an SEO freelancer, I was getting plenty of complaints that the results weren't appearing. The thing is, with SEO, you have to wait up to a couple of months to see tangible improvements. I decided that I'd educate them about the topic to the best of my ability and show them data from past projects. When they saw what the reality is, most clients immediately understood how things really are.
Thanks to: Marcin Stryjecki of Booksy.

45. Negative Reviews - My Action

Keep it short and sweet – more facts and information can appear defensive and invite more critique and comments and most importantly, offer a solution or invite them to continue the conversation offline if a more in-depth response is needed.

It can be frustrating to get negative reviews, but they are a great way to identify areas for improvement. Responding to reviews in a professional and helpful way can further boost your brand and improve perceptions of your customer service.
Thanks to: Ed McMasters of FUSIONWRX Inc, a Flottman Company.

46. Feedback for Improvement

Customer feedback is helpful because it allows you to see things that you might have missed, areas of improvement, and that will improve your business. Negative feedback can be a dagger to your ego, but that hurt doesn't have to linger, because it's not productive. If you can see negative feedback as just feedback, your ego will be less injured. Whether you received a one-star review or a lukewarm three-star review, that feedback the customer just gave is gold.
Thanks to: Angela Ficken of Progress Wellness.

47. Use the Friendly Negotiation

The client's perspective is to come first. Inquire how they may like to resolve the issue. A small percentage will be inflexible and ask for a ridiculous reimbursement. But, most appreciate the ask and the willingness to find a satisfactory solution for all.

Once you hear the client's desires, honestly state what you can and cannot do, as not everything is always possible. Then, in a friendly tone, suggest your ideas. Come to an arrangement. Gratitude develops into referrals.
Thanks to: Elinor Stutz of Smooth Sale.

48. It's Not a Trouble Ticket

Our team does not view a bad customer experience as a "trouble ticket". Instead, it is another opportunity to serve our valuable customer, albeit not on the best of circumstances. We respond with sincerity, empathy and speed to every customer concern. We listen and apologize, regardless of the reason for the negative experience. We act promptly to resolve so that the customer understands they are important to us. In this way, we turn negative experiences into happy customers and positive reviews.
Thanks to: Cathy Morgan of Federal Brace.

49. Make a Negative a Positive

It’s a guarantee that you’ll get negative feedback at some point. While it’s important to learn from those criticisms—and make necessary adjustments—you also can’t let those comments haunt you. Instead, use each piece of negative feedback your company receives to create a new idea or change to your internal operations. At the end of the day, dwelling on criticism can prevent progress—so why not turn a negative comment into a positive action?
Thanks to: Tiffanie Hartenstein of ORACLE Lighting.

50. Acknowledge What They Say

As soon as you receive the complaint, respond. Acknowledge that you received it and thank the customer for bringing it to your attention. Promise that you'll take a look at it, then gather all the details that you need. Discuss with the customer the options to resolve the issue and keep your promises. All this time, make sure that you remain calm and humble, and show that you're always willing to listen.
Thanks to: David Cusick of House Method.

51. Say Sorry and Mean It

When a customer complains, don't hesitate to offer an apology that they're inconvenienced and upset. Avoid blaming someone or something else. Then, show that you mean it by working out a solution with them as quickly as possible. Being sincerely sorry and genuinely willing to find a solution for them can go a long way in making them feel satisfied and leaving an impression on them.
Thanks to: Elliot Reimers of Rave Reviews.

52. Staying Calm

Whether it's a cool guy trying to tell you how to do your job or a raged woman ready to burst, the best way to handle such a complaint-customer is to be calm without bringing your personal emotion into the scene. Keep in mind that the customer won't attack you personally, but rather they get mad at the company's work process. Often, when they watch your calm demeanor, they calm down too. Let them vent their frustration first, and you empathize with it to bring their level of anger down.
Thanks to: Mudassir Ahmed of Blogging Explained.

53. Associate Counsel

Identify your client’s problem. The only way to identify is to listen; If you are offended right off the bat, you will not hear your client. If you don’t hear them, you will miss out on an opportunity to grow. Identification process is challenging. Some clients only want discounts, others not so much. Before jumping the gun, first identify the problem, then address what you have identified and verify if it's correct. Once a solution is presented, verify that the solution itself is working.
Thanks to: Ghazal Hamedani of Kalfa Law.

54. Offer Solution!

Customers have the right to vent frustration when they don't get the help they expected - it is reasonable. If you turn them away without offering a solution, you may lose a customer, and they will be sure to rant badly about you on social media, which hurts your reputation. If you can't get them prompt help, offer some compensation - could be a voucher, special discount, or free service for a month to make the situation better.

And if the situation goes beyond, direct them to someone who can handle it.
Thanks to: Chandra Prakash of Digimiles.

55. Tip for Negative Feedback

We pride ourselves on our customer service, so when someone comes to us with negative feedback, we make sure to reach out to them personally and try to get a clearer picture of their issue. We end each conversation with action items to ensure that our customer feels heard.

Negative feedback is inevitable when it comes to running any business. Here at Hoamsy, we value critical feedback because it teaches us how to improve and points out issues that we may not have realized to address.
Thanks to: Richard O'Brien of Hoamsy.

56. Ask Not What You Can Do

Ask not what you can do for yourself, but what you can do for your customer. Listen like you're wrong. Ask what you can do right.
"How can we make it up to you?"
* An apology? Say you're sorry, very sorry!
* A replacement? Give them more than one!
* A full refund? Give the refund plus replacement!
Give them an unforgettable experience so that they can tell all the world! Give more and have loyal customers for life!

Photo by Unsplash.com/@jontyson
Thanks to: Jean Chow of MsBizWiz.

57. Know Better-Do Better

It may be uncomfortable to hear negative feedback. But have an honest conversation with yourself and your team. Don’t avoid it, and instead ask, “Could we have done better?” If so, then take that moment and create an amazing customer experience. These are defining moments when your business can learn and grow. When mistakes are made, it gives us an opportunity to build a lasting relationship and be the stand out and go-to in our industry.
Thanks to: Stacy Tuschl of Stacy Tuschl, LLC.

58. Acknowledge and Offer Apology

Listen to the customer's problem in its entirety, acknowledge their complaint and offer an apology before offering any solution. This action implies that you gave the issue a serious consideration. I'm not proposing that the customer is always right, but make it clear they're being heard. You may not be sorry that he simply didn't like your service, but you can still apologize that he had bad experience. For many customers, this sincere effort goes a long way in resolving the problem.
Thanks to: Shabnam Afroz of Shoutout Street.

59. Respond & Remedy

There is no such thing as a negative comment if you can turn it into a positive change. There may be discrepancies and miscommunication, which can be rectified and allow you the chance to provide customer service beyond what the average company would, which in turn will create more retention and loyalty. The opportunity to remedy a scenario gives way for extra TLC towards the consumer and also can point out flaws in the business model that you can address to optimize your site and service.
Thanks to: Katie Lyon of Allegiance Flag Supply.

60. No Questions Asked

If there is an issue, we want to address the situation as fast as possible providing a seamless resolution with no hassle and questions asked to the customer. In an age where expedited service is a must, we want to be on the frontier. After it is handled with efficiency, then can you internally modify any mishaps which led to the problem. From a cost/benefit standpoint, an eCommerce company should always adhere to 110% no questions asked, hassle-free resolutions to ensure satisfaction.
Thanks to: Dan Potter of CRAFTD.

61. Make Lemonades From Lemons!

It is said that customers who give you negative feedback are the best types of customers. This is because they are giving you the opportunity to know what needs to be improved upon and a chance to redeem your business' image. I look at it from this angle and I make adjustments where needed. If the matter is handled rightly, these same customers can become your brand ambassadors free of charge! An aggrieved customer won over is more emotionally connected to your company than nonchalant customers.
Thanks to: Lily Ugbaja of Mom Baby Heart.

62. Be Responsive

One way to deal with customer complaints and negative feedback is to give the customer your undivided attention and communicate well to them that you think their feedback is important. Make sure you relate to the person. Every single person has the same needs: shelter, food, comfort, etc. They’re not looking to be sold to, but they’re looking for someone to “spoon-feed” them the solution they’re looking for.
Thanks to: Ben Cook of Printed Kicks.

63. Making Criticism Work For You

When dealing with customer complaints, it helps to put it into one of two categories: negative feedback and constructive criticism. Some complaints may not feel valid and it might be instinctive to want to defend your company and choices every time. However, there will always be criticism that is sound and deserves to be addressed. Consider it free consulting, and a way to grow your business by making it better.
Thanks to: Craig Ricks Jr. of Acadian Windows and Siding.

64. Apologizing and Listening

Sometimes when a client is complaining, they just want to be heard. Apologize and listen. Let them talk and get it off their chest.

Asking 'how could we have handled this better?' provides insight into how they feel you should have handled the situation.

After listening I like to say, 'We did not meet your expectations and that is a failure on our part. At this point, what could we do to remedy the situation?' Sometimes, what they want is something we never even considered.
Thanks to: Amy Kite of The Kite Team.

65. Use it for Training

For smaller businesses, listening to customer feedback is all-important. Sometimes a complaint can be your greatest resource and training tool.

Reach out, thank the person and try to sustain a human connection with them, even if it won’t result in a business relationship or profit.

If it's an issue on our end, we will use that complaint as a training tool for our business in all departments so everyone can improve next time around. It’s a continuous process.
Thanks to: Stewart J. Guss of Stewart J. Guss Injury Lawyers.

66. Respond Promptly

The best way to deal with a customer complaint is to ensure that your reply is prompt. This lets the customer know that you have acknowledged their complaint and are actively looking to resolve the issue.

Next, offer a decisive and ideally swift resolution. Tell customers the steps you are taking to resolve the situation or the options available to them, as well as how long it will take to resolve the issue.
Thanks to: Shawn Lockery of Invivobiosystems.

67. 7Steps to Complaint Resolution

1. Develop a firm understanding of what excellent complaint resolution looks like.
2. Research companies with excellent complaint resolution to develop your own policy.
3. Develop your resolution process based on your organizational mission statement.
4. Educate your employees. Tell stories about successes and failures.
5. Encourage creativity and innovation.
6. Practice what you preach with your own employees as well as with customers.
7. Solicit ongoing feedback and respond timely.
Thanks to: Jeanne Rodriguez of Pennico Press.

68. Listen

Listen to the feedback. As the saying goes, feedback is a gift. If a customer is upset or complaining – whether live or virtually – acknowledge them, thank them for reaching out to share their feedback, and commit to listening to them and sharing their feedback to make improvements, as needed.
Thanks to: Michael Stahl of SERVPRO.

69. Put Yourself In Their Shoes

When customers complain, it's usually for a reason. Even if they're being unbearable and rude, it's vital that you get to the bottom of their complaint, lest it becomes an issue. Rather than assume the worst, put yourself in their shoes. Understand where they are coming from. Ask them questions. Have them explain what's going on. The more you listen and empathize, the more you just may realize that this grumpy customer was just what you needed to grow and improve.
Thanks to: Vickie Pierre of BuyAutoInsurance.

70. Stay Positive

A good attitude and a proactive stance can go a long way in dispelling a disgruntled or angry customer. A disappointed customer wants to know that they are heard and action is taken to remedy their situation. Communicate clearly that you are working to correct the situation and doing so in a positive way will diffuse the most negative customers. Once a customer is calm and feels a little better about your business, there is still more to do.
Thanks to: Tom Winter of DevSkiller.

71. Avoid Bandaid Solutions

When you declare that a problem will be solved, it means that the problem has indeed been solved. This is of vital importance to the business reputation. Failure to act on a situation could actually turn clients around and give the impression that they were originally manipulated. It is important to never assume that you have successfully resolved customer service issues until customers have actually verified that the situation has been resolved.
Thanks to: Stefan Smulders of Expandi.

72. Keep Your Cool and Calm

Try to stay calm.

If a customer is angry enough to phone and call, you can be fairly certain that the customer in question is rather upset. This anger can spill over during the phone call. This is why the people in customer service must be able to deal with this anger in a calm and serene manner. Members of the customer service team should never match a customer's anger. Instead, they should focus on demonstrating that they are determined to fix the problem.
Thanks to: Jesse David Thé of Tauria.

73. Long-term Win-Win

When it comes to being proactive about negative feedback involving supply, consider if you've optimized your offering. Rather than adding a service or additional products to your company to appease complaints, think long-term. Find a creative solution like improving or expanding vendor partnerships to increase their involvement in shipping the products you offer to your consumers. Better collaboration with your partners benefits your customers and your business. It's a long-term win-win!
Thanks to: Tyler Faux of Supergreat.

74. Eat Up Your Customer Feedback

Customer feedback is essential if you want to grow your business. So, consider the negative feedback as further insight into making adjustments or improvements to your product. When customers feel like they are helping to polish your product, it makes them feel involved with your brand, strengthening their loyalty. Use social media to engage with them and show your customers that you care about what they say and value their opinion. After all, your product should meet their expectations.
Thanks to: Jared Pobre of Caldera + Lab.

75. Respond Quickly

It is important for the owner to reply immediately, even if the complaint was out of your control or involved an employee. The longer you wait to reply, the more they may think you don’t care. A client appreciates you taking time out of your schedule to address it immediately.

It’s best not to give excuses, but to humbly state that if they are unhappy with something we need to do better. Often a client is surprised when you don’t start off with an excuse but take full responsibility.
Thanks to: Edith Pearce of The Pearce Law Firm.

76. Let the Customer Yell at You

Rather than bouncing off complaints and customer feedback, to only abandon your business idea when it is unsuccessful, listen to customers and adapt. Bring in angry customers for a focus group. Ask for survey responses after making controversial changes. Make sure your business is message-able on Google My Business and listen to upset customers over the phone.
Thanks to: Sean Carrigan of MobileQubes.

77. Say Thanks

When you get a complaint and you try to defend yourself, you harden the lines. Doesn't matter if the complaint is reasonable or unreasonable. Defend yourself, and the person concludes you're not listening to them. They double-down on the complaint. And you, the businessperson, lose. So thank the person for their feedback, then do your best to resolve the complaint. Saying thanks will defuse the issue, at least to some extent. It will also help you keep your cool.
Thanks to: Mark Armstrong of Mark Armstrong Illustration.

78. Address & Act

Feedback is essential for growth. We constantly try to improve aspects of our firm to establish the best rapport possible with our clients. If there were ever a bad review, it would not necessarily be bad for our company. It reminds us we are not perfect and can always fix the leaks that prevent us from maximizing our potential. In law, there are no guarantees in the courtroom. On a customer service level, you can send appreciation for their voice, and apply the feedback for the future.
Thanks to: John Berry of Berry Law.

79. Accept, Never Defend

I think the biggest thing is to just get back to them quickly but never defend or deflect. Just accept what they're saying and make it clear that you're sorry and grateful that they took the time to share their thoughts with you. You can even use it as an opportunity to create a deeper connection by sharing how you are taking it personally and not just as a complaint about your brand/company, but as an opportunity for you to show that you hear them and are invested in doing better.
Thanks to: Engr. David Keck of Powerful Generator.

80. Fast and Efficient

Always make sure your response to customer complaints is fast and efficient. Whether the customer is complaining about a missing item, damaged packaging, or poor delivery service, respond quickly, apologize and offer advice. Your aim is to again ensure complete customer satisfaction. Reply to negative feedback on social media in the same way. As stated previously, always remain professional and try not to let your emotions get in the way of the issue at hand.
Thanks to: Dr. Emily Ruiz of What's Dog.

81. Complaining is Caring

It's important to listen for and find the nuggets of information to improve, so do not discount the negative comments. I believe most negative feedback has some value because it comes from people who care about you, whether you know them well or not. If they did not care, they would not bother, so it's always an opportunity to be better. Offer a timely response in a genuine way, not with a script but with sincerity. Take responsibility, don't make excuses/place blame, so they feel heard/respected.
Thanks to: Paige Arnof-Fenn of Mavens & Moguls.

82. Customer Complaints

Customer complaints can be submitted for a variety of reasons. Usually it’s regarding payment, especially for a membership. Either payments lapse or someone wants to cancel and have their recent payment refunded. I like to make sure to have my terms and conditions very clear so they can access them at any time. That way, I can always reference the terms in an email and do my best to work with the customer.
Thanks to: Michelle Lewis of Visibility Vixen.

83. The Complaint Paradox

Until tested, the concept of ‘excellent customer service’ is just a vague philosophical theory, an ideal expectation, a paradox... or a hype.

Once customers have problems and complain about them, how quickly and how well you deal with them and strive to make them happy again will do wonders to repair the initial damage.

Studies regularly indicate that customer loyalty can even increase after the successful solution of a problem.

So, turn complaints into compliments every time.
Thanks to: Phil Stella of Effective Training & Communication,.

84. Go Above and Beyond!

Everyone's human. Sometimes as business owners or entrepreneurs, we get it wrong! The best we can do is to communicate with customers, get in front of a situation, and give a little extra to make things right. It also can't hurt to follow up with an unhappy customer after a few days to make sure the situation's been taken care of. Clear communication and active support is the best path to minimizing a poor customer experience.
Thanks to: Natalie Antonellis of Living a Clean Life.

85. Analyze the Complaint

Take the time to analyze the validity of the complaint. Is it accurate? Were the client's expectations managed? Were there dependencies on the client that they didn't deliver in a timely fashion? Were there issues within your team? Break down the component parts to work out where your team failed to deliver and also if the client shares some of the responsibility. And then, work on a means of addressing issues internally and with the client to come to an agreed solution for all.
Thanks to: Alistair Dodds of Ever Increasing Circles.

86. Make it Right With Consumers

One mistake many business owners make is not acknowledging complaints or negative reviews from consumers. Instead of going on the defensive, reach out and try to obtain more information from the consumer to get their complete experience with your business.

From there, apologize and see what you can do to make things right. Maybe offer store credit or an Amazon
gift card to them. Consumers are amazed when a business owner will actually take some time to address their concerns.
Thanks to: Matt Schmidt of Diabetes Life Solutions.

87. Stop Hiding from Bad Reviews

When someone drops the ball within my business, whether it be a piece of jewelry that was damaged during shipping or a bad experience with one of our sales team, addressing the issue directly with the customer is paramount. When you get a bad review, you should address the person directly. People want to feel valued, and contacting them directly to fix what went wrong is not just good customer service, but great for your brand image. It really shows you care about them, no matter what.
Thanks to: John Atencio of John Atencio.

88. An Opportunity to Improve

Many customer complaints from different customers should not be treated as a "headache". Instead, it should be viewed as an opportunity to improve your products and/or services. Once you have detected a negative customer pattern, make sure that you and your team take action to resolve the issue. For this reason, it is wise to do one with clients and ask for feedback via questionnaires by snail mail, follow-up emails or even phone calls.
Thanks to: Anastasija Dojchinovska of Reviewlution.

89. Listen & Test

Listen to the feedback, but recognize when a customer is blowing smoke or whether their feedback will actually improve your product/service. Regardless, play the customer experience card and make them feel heard. Then, take their feedback and test it. If it passes your tests, thank the customer and integrate it into the next round of production. If it doesn't, thank them anyway, since most of the time negative feedback has little to do with you and a lot to do with their situation.
Thanks to: Keeton Alder of Zampi.

90. Compensation After an Apology

With my years of experience in dealing with clients, I found out that when I genuinely apologize for what they complain about, it automatically lowers their irritability.

You can see them complaining about the inconvenience they've gone through after what happened because of us but as soon as you apologize, you can hear their tone of voice lower, their shoulders relax, and they disconnect eye contact.

Follow your apology with some compensation. Doing so proves that your intention is genuine.
Thanks to: Tal Shelef of CondoWizard.

91. Respond Quickly

Ensure that customers are the company's top concern. Consumers must be heard and a remedy provided as soon as possible. Otherwise, disgruntled clients will likely cease trusting your brand and shift their devotion to a competitor. Make sure to address the concerns as quickly as possible because client satisfaction is essential. When a business ensures that customer complaints are their priority, they gain a competitive edge.
Thanks to: Brian Kelleher of killerguitarrigs.

92. Don't Make the Situation Worse

It is a company obligation to prevent the problem from escalating. It would help if you learned the policy of ignoring at the appropriate time because an adverse reaction by a company creates a negative impression in the public's mind. The first stage is to ensure that clients are assured that the problem will be resolved, and the second step is to ensure that the issue is thoroughly explored so that the matter is investigated correctly through the right processes.
Thanks to: Perry Zheng of Cash Flow Portal.

93. Be Polite

No matter how enraged the post or how spiteful the customer comment is, be kind and gracious. Your comments should be professional and should not indicate that you are offended directly. Please don't give in to what they're doing because it could be a baiting tactic. On the public stage, keep it brief and to the point, and then seek more discussion offline. The more you keep things online, the higher the chances that your firm's image will be kept intact.
Thanks to: Gaurav Dhir of LightsPick.

94. Patience Dear Watson!

When a client is concerned they are not getting the press coverage they expect, I explain how the media works and why PR is a long-term living project. I show them samples of front-page news coverage in major metro newspapers that my firm obtained for clients that took more than a year to get in print. I explain that getting published requires everything to be in place; the story has to be newsworthy, timely and something the publication’s readers have to care about. Patience is key.
Thanks to: Lisa Porter of Porter PR & Marketing.

95. Shut Up and Listen

Meet the negative complaint head-on. That means addressing the customer directly, acknowledge the issue, ask what they think a better approach would've been (shut up and listen), then ask for a chance to redeem the company's reputation. It'll show that you value the customer's opinion and make them feel important making them more likely to change their mind. It sounds simple but so many business owners just get defensive or dismissive, which never helps.
Thanks to: Eric J. Nisall of Eric Nisall dot com.

96. Are You Willing?

Education is key for customers to realize natural pet products are different from chemical based. For example, our shampoos contain 17 plants and minerals that deep clean and condition. But some complain they aren’t as sudsy. I explain that suds are from sulfates that impair protective layers of skin and hair causing dryness. I also explain that preservatives and fragrances used in many shampoos are toxic but cheap, so manufacturers keep using them. Happily, pet lovers are willing to learn.
Thanks to: Lisa Porter of PawPurity.

97. Say Sorry Right Away

No matter what the circumstances are, always keep in mind that the primary concern you have to consider in dealing with customer complaints is acknowledging their feelings. Letting them know you're sorry that they did not feel satisfied with your service or product should be one of your goals. While sorry may seem overrated, it's still the most effective form of apology. Customers need to feel that you are sorry for the bad user experience. Also, you have to be genuine in saying your apology.
Thanks to: Lucas Travis of INBOARD SKATE.

98. Put on Your Customer’s Shoes

In my opinion, by putting yourself in your customer's shoes, you can move one step closer to crafting the ideal customer experience. When you think like a consumer, your perspective changes, and your whole focus shifts to creating value. Putting oneself in their shoes allows you to better comprehend how consumers feel when they face an issue with your product or service. The customer must believe that you are on his or her side and that you understand the situation.
Thanks to: Michael Robinson of Cheap SSL Security.

99. “Thank You” to the Rescue

My best tip for dealing with customer complaints is to respond with gratitude. I thank them for the critique because any feedback helps me to better serve current and future customers. Saying “thank you” also lets the customers know that I care about their concerns and am willing to provide a fair solution. Responding to negative feedback in a thankful manner gives me the opportunity to turn that complaint into a compliment.
Thanks to: Erma Williams of The Pomade Shop.

100. Look to De-escelate

A lot of the time when handling customer complaints, we're focused on responsibility. But whether or not the problem needs to be escalated to another team, make sure that there's a line to receive inquiries and details that can provide fast response times. The person who initially engages with the customer might not get into the fact-finding yet, but simply listening, empathizing, or just allowing customers to expel their frustrations, that part alone already de-escalates the situation.
Thanks to: Matthew Paxton of Hypernia.

101. Tips for Dealing with Customer

Concentrate solely on the customer's instructions. Make a list of the key facts and their concerns so you can refer back to the conversation in the future. Keep calm and in control and don't interrupt the customer. Above all, keep in mind that you're representing your company, and they're not "picking on you personally." You can demonstrate that you are actively listening and empathetic to the customer by using a supportive but concerned tone of voice.
Thanks to: Edward Shaw of leelinesourcing.

102. Automate Your Customer Support

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has revolutionized how companies handle customer complaints. In dealing with customer service difficulties, customers regard chatbot conversations as "extremely effective." Customers want immediate attention to their problems. They can become enraged and leave nasty reviews online as a result of delayed responses. Using AI-enabled chatbots to automate your customer service is a good method to manage complaints and issues in real-time.
Thanks to: Jeroen Van Gils of Lifi.

103. Calm and Control

It's not possible to have a rosy and lovely day every day. Your day may begin with an irate customer ranting at the top of his lungs. You'll have to learn the subtle art of keeping under the weather, despite how tough it is to retain your cool. In such instances, don't take things too seriously. This is the service you've chosen to provide. If you address the situation with a calm attitude, you are more likely to satisfy your customer's needs.
Thanks to: Bradley Bonnen of iFlooded Restoration.

104. Be Realistic and Listen to You

Nobody likes a business that is constantly being defensive. The first step is to accept the criticism with a positive attitude and a willingness to change. It isn't easy to maintain objectivity, but a response that does so will make you seem reasonable in the long term. Listening is the most effective strategy to improve and grow your business. When a customer complains in a public forum, you should listen and try to figure out why. Then address the issue and reclaim the customer.
Thanks to: Kate Gross of Fix the Photo.

105. Asking What They Want

Once you’ve taken the typical first steps - listening, apologizing, etc. - I find it’s helpful to ask a complaining customer exactly what their desired outcome is from here on out. Some will want compensation, some will want a redo, and some just want to make their voice heard and feel listened to. By asking them directly what they want next, you can make sure that they feel valued and involved in the process.
Thanks to: Will Haynie of Pelicoin.

106. Take Online Complaints Offline

The best way to deal with online negative reviews and complaints is to acknowledge them and divert them offline.

We know ignoring negative reviews is a terrible approach, but so is getting a tit-for-tat with a disgruntled customer on Facebook.

Do what you can to engage with that customer offline.

"We'd like to know more about your experience, please call our office at..."
Thanks to: Luke Hancock of Bin There Dump That.

107. Robust Return Policy

At Just Men’s Shoes, we handle customer complaints by having a robust return policy. We allow free returns by providing a pre-paid return label with all of our shoe orders. The only thing our customers have to do is take their box to UPS. Additionally, we provide full refunds within 30 days of purchase. By offering these incentives, our customers are more likely to trust us and order shoes online, which can prove to be a tough process because of sizing.
Thanks to: Jennifer Oppenheim of Just Men's Shoes.

108. Find the Root

When dealing with upset customers, we want to make sure to really identify the root issue the customer is having. Sometimes, people will call with complaints about work or price, but really they just need to vent around the frustration of needing to call a contractor in the first place. Sometimes, the issue is resolved just by being willing to listen to our customers and get to the root of their real frustration. Be sure to identify your customer's actual issue to help create a lasting resolution.
Thanks to: Allison Harrison of Goodbee Plumbing.

109. Emojis Show Emotion

​Humor, and surprisingly, emojis ​is​ a way I deal with complaints. ​With emojis, people bring up the problem of professionalism; however, there are so many ways that customers can misinterpret what is being said through email, and adding a smiley face emoji every once in a while really adds a warm feel to what you’re communicating and eases the tension​. As long ​as customers feel heard first, adding humor and emojis will help the message across.
Thanks to: Deepak Shukla of Pearl Lemon.

110. Empower Clients with Knowledge

In our line of work, clients often get impatient or frustrated. SEO is slow yet yields great long-term results. I listen to their concerns and repeat them so they know how important they are to me. I ask how I can make things right. They need to feel important. Once they know I'm not being defensive, the relationship moves toward a resolution. We create a strategy around their goals. The relationship evolves into a collaboration as they feel empowered by a better understanding of SEO.
Thanks to: Steve Wiideman of Wiideman Consulting Group.

111. Acknowledge

When you receive a complaint, acknowledge it as soon as possible, regardless of how it was received - in writing, over the phone, in person, or over social media. Instead of burying your head in the sand and hoping the complainant will go away, make sure the claim's legitimacy is probed. Reply to the complaint from a senior level – preferably THE most senior – and let them know you're looking into it, even if you immediately realize or believe the accusation has no merit.
Thanks to: Daniel Foley of Daniel Foley SEO.

112. Dealing with Client Complaints

Customers who complain want three things: first, they want to be heard; second, they want to be treated with kindness and respect; and third, they want their problems handled. Everything you do should cater to their requirements.

Have an open and friendly complaint policy. Demonstrate to customers that you are responsive to their concerns and genuinely care about their experience. Accept that, as a business, you will receive complaints at some point.
Thanks to: Edward Mellett of Wikijob.

113. Stay Calm:

Even if it's difficult, you must remain calm when dealing with a consumer complaint. This can be difficult, especially since your company is likely a source of great pride for you. However, don't take the complaint personally; it's not a personal attack. A consumer complaint will frequently reveal an area in your business where you might improve. If you tackle the challenge with a calm mindset, you'll be more likely to make good progress and meet your customer's needs.
Thanks to: Jason McMahon of Bambrick.

114. Keep Your Emotions Aside:

Whether it's a kind lady with the best of intentions trying to tell you how to do your job better or a frustrated customer about to erupt in rage, the best approach to handle any client voicing a complaint is to keep your personal emotions out of it. Listen carefully to what they're saying, then respond and react gently with the above tips in mind.
Thanks to: Sep Niakan of Condoblackbook.

115. Be Kind

Most of the time, remaining kind and understanding can help to defuse anger and frustration. You can inform your consumer right away that you appreciate them reaching out to you about their issues and that you want to know how they're feeling. From the start, a statement like this shows your consumer that you genuinely care and are willing to listen. You're well on your way to finding a reasonable settlement to a client's issue when they realize you actually care.
Thanks to: Tommy Gallagher of Top Mobile Banks.

116. Use the Right Tools & Process

Making the shift from traditional to digital modes of responding is an important part of the customer complaint management approach. Using the right tools and methods is the most important aspect of complaint management. It determines the effectiveness with which complaints are resolved. The use of a certain set of tools and processes helps in quick response and monitoring, allowing proactive steps to be taken.
Thanks to: Benjamin Aronson of Finance Pond.

117. Acknowledge the Issue

Listening to your consumer complaint may not be ideal, but do your best to hear what they're saying. Is it because something took too long for them? Or is it possible that a thing they bought isn't exactly what they were looking for? Perhaps - but hopefully not - they are unhappy with a particular person they experienced while working with the company. Recognize whatever the "real cause" for their complaint is, and make sure you heard what they stated.
Thanks to: Lee Grant of Wrangu.

118. Apologize and Thank Them

Even though it will be difficult, swallowing your pride and apologizing for your customer's bad experience will put you miles ahead of the competition. Apologizing, like acknowledging, does not imply that you agree with the customer or that you accept blame. Thanking your consumer for reaching out with their problem may seem counterintuitive, but it will demonstrate that you're always looking for ways to improve your company.
Thanks to: Andrew Chornyy of Plerdy.

119. Handle Complaints Proactively

Customers can express both positive and negative feedback on the web through a variety of channels, including forums, social media networks, and more. This indicates that you should become more proactive in dealing with issues. You can categorize frequently reported complaints or evaluate the type of difficulty that clients may face, and then prepare solutions based on the data.
Thanks to: Diego Cardini of The Drum Ninja.

120. Know Your Worth and Show Value

People will try to take as much as they can get and while it is in our nature to please the customer at all costs, we also must be vigilant in understanding our worth and helping the customer understand the value they are receiving. Customers want to feel heard and understand the value that you bring to the table. Keep the lines of communication open by hearing them out and then clearly stating what can be done to either change or meet their expectations.
Thanks to: Alexa Fernandez of Digitally.

121. Complainers Can Boost Sales

Humanize the communication. Offer empathy. Remind them you are a real person, too. This addresses the primary trigger for anger. They feel anonymized in our current culture. Customers start with a default view that your company is corporate and unreachable. Explaining some of your own limitations, combined with a compromise, turns an unhappy customer into a deeply loyal customer who then goes on to share the positive experience with others. All of us are tired of being trapped working with robots.
Thanks to: Laura Oden, CEO of Pandere Shoes, Expandable Footwear.

122. Addressing Customer Complaints

If you want to be recognized for superior customer service, you need to be on top of customer complaints on social media and review sites. Make it clear to any potential customers who might read these comments that you take complaints seriously and go out of your way to make dissatisfied people happy. In the worst-case scenario, you may not satisfy the disgruntled customer, but you cultivate new leads by showcasing your customer care.
Thanks to: Brett Welker of Crush the GRE Test.

123. Reach Out To Learn More

Whenever our clients receive negative reviews, we always encourage them to reach out directly to each individual customer to get further details on their experience. Customers will take note of that customer service, which may change their opinion of the business. This also helps our clients get real feedback about their services, identify bottlenecks in their processes, and improve future customer experiences. It's also wise to offer those customers discounts to encourage future purchases.
Thanks to: Niles Koenigsberg of Real FiG Advertising + Marketing.

124. Help, Don't Placate

You need to actively listen to customer complaints and respond thoughtfully with a solution in mind if you want to avoid irritating already frustrated people. One of the most annoying experiences for someone who has purchased a product or service is to be placated with worn-out customer service de-escalation tactics. Instead, listen to what the customer says or writes, determine whether it is possible to help them and how, and then immediately start working toward the solution.
Thanks to: Bryce Welker of CPA Exam Guy.

125. Shut Up and Listen

When dealing with customer complaints, most of the time the customer just wants to be heard. Often, they aren't expecting compensation. They just want to express their frustration and feel their experience is taken into account. Being transparent and open to listening is the best thing a business can do. In regards to online feedback, it's important to express gratitude for the feedback but give yourself the chance to give the company's side of the story too, in a professional manner.
Thanks to: Maddie Megahan of BDK, Inc.

126. Empathize With Customers

As a business owner, there’s a word I drill into the heads of employees when dealing with customer complaints: empathize. Without high levels of empathy, superb customer service cannot exist. I train workers to always see where the customer is coming from, regardless of what a complaint's about. When an employee visualizes how he or she would feel in the same situation, problems get solved faster and with greater care. Having empathy is a business’ secret weapon toward resolving complaints.
Thanks to: James Walsh of JamesWalshOfficial.com.

127. Treat All Complaints Equally

When a customer complains, you hope it’s going to be constructive. Legitimate complaints can provide real, valuable, actionable feedback to an organization. The best tip for dealing with complaints like this is to try to view every, and I mean EVERY complaint as legitimate. Even if you disagree with the note, or if you think the customer is being unreasonable, you can still learn something about your processes by dissecting that complaint and working to prevent it from happening in the future!
Thanks to: Tim Nasimul of Chill Paws.

128. Ask Customer About the Way Out

Ask The Customer, "What Would Be An Acceptable Solution To You?" I've found, it's preferable to provide one or more remedies to alleviate the customer's pain, whether or not the customer realizes what a decent option is. Become a problem-solving partner with the consumer. Treat your consumers with respect by paying close attention to their difficulties from beginning to end. It's one of the most effective strategies to deal with client problems.
Thanks to: Ben Richardson of Development Academy.

129. Customer Complaint Formula

My #1 tip for dealing with customer complaints is to apologize for the inconvenience and explain what we will do to rectify the situation.
Apologizing to customers shows that you acknowledge that there was an error, that you understand their complaint, and that you will correct the mistake. Then, ask the customer how they think the complaint can best be resolved. Remember never to promise things you can't fulfill, and it's always better to under-promise and over-deliver to make customers happy.
Thanks to: Randy VanderVaate of Funeral Funds of America.

130. Offer Immediate Value

The best tip for dealing with customer complaints is to offer immediate value (i.e., discounts, freebies). This demonstrates a willingness to accept fault. It is also important to follow up with the complainant to ensure they're satisfied. This speaks volumes about your business and what it stands for.
Thanks to: Sara Bernier of Born for Pets.

131. Validate Customer Concerns

Dealing with customer complaints can be challenging. A great way to deal with them is to acknowledge what the customer is saying. Making the customer feel validated is the first step toward resolving the complaint. Once the customer feels validated, they usually calm down and you can walk them through the resolution process.
Thanks to: Fred Gerantabee of Foster Grant.

132. Do Not Fight Fire With Fire

It's natural and simple to want to correct a customer's assertions. This, however, will not assist you in attempting to defuse a customer's anger when they share a complaint. Rather than disputing their issue, take the time to listen to what they have to say. And - dare I suggest it - even express gratitude to them.
Thanks to: Jennifer Foster of Authority Astrology.

133. Don't Sound Uninterested

Body language includes temperament, facial expressions, and posture, among other things. Your body language might tell the complete opposite of what you are saying. For some businesses, complaints can be resolved by phone instead of in person. However, keep in mind that your consumer cannot see you, so you don't need to worry about body language. Even though they will get much from your tone of voice, don't sound uninterested, bored, or exhausted.
Thanks to: Steve Scott of Spreadsheet Planet.

134. Attitude is Everything

The attitude you bring to a situation has a significant impact on how you will react to it. It is critical to maintaining an open mind, maintain your calm, and avoid being defensive under any circumstances.
Thanks to: Darshan Somashekar of Solitaired.

135. Fix the Problem Immediately

Find a solution as soon as you've acknowledged the issue and apologize for inconvenience. Customers didn't take time out of their day to speak with you in order to get back later again. If you are unable to handle the issue immediately, describe the measures you will take to resolve the situation and when they can expect to hear from you. Not all problems can be resolved right quickly, but make sure you keep the customer informed at all times so they know what you're doing to solve the problem.
Thanks to: Eric Rohrback of Hill & Ponton.

136. Keep Your Cool

When dealing with an angry customer, you must maintain your cool, which is not easy to do. The worst thing you can do is engage with a client in the same way the customer is already acting. The situation might easily go out of your hands if you get upset, argue, or yell at the caller. Take a few long breaths and calm yourself. It is not really the customer's fault.
Thanks to: Hamza G. of GSDLovers.

137. Be Kind to the Customer

When someone is upset, they are expecting warm and friendly responses. Let the customer know that you appreciate them getting in touch with you with their concern and that you want to help them fix them as quickly as possible. This demonstrates that you are on their side and are happy to help. The customer should not be further annoyed by you raising your voice, since this could result in an argument.
Thanks to: Nathan Grieve of Impersonate Me.

138. Active Listening

Some people approach a company simply because they are upset and want to complain to someone who has to listen to them. It is recommended to let the caller finish their thought before ending the call. Most customers do have a problem they can't solve themselves, and that's why they are calling help. Allow them to communicate their concern and their request for your help. Sometimes, having someone who will listen is enough to calm them.
Thanks to: Joe Baker of Boots Empire.

139. Acknowledge the Problem

When you have acknowledged a caller's issue, make it clear that the issue is important to you. Don't downplay or dismiss their issues, as this simply makes the customer feel ignored and increases their anger. Instead, tell the customer that you'll do your best to assist them. To find the primary issue, repeat a summary of what the call said. By showing that you were paying attention to them, it helps them relax.
Thanks to: Burak Ozdemir of Online Alarm Clock.

140. Apology

We are usually urged not to apologize legally since it can be construed as an acknowledgment of blame. Offering an apology, on the other hand, will often go a long way toward addressing minor issues. Put your apologies in such a way that it doesn't imply blame: "I'm sorry you're not satisfied/afraid/want to return the item." In this manner, you may be real because you're sad the person is upset, regardless of why.
Thanks to: Adam Harris of Best Tool.

141. Stay Calm

Keep your cool, but don't get disconnected, regardless of how irate a client is. Being cool, professional, and human at the same time will frequently assist to diffuse a tense situation. Offering to talk through the problem, being willing to listen to all of the specifics, and offering a sympathetic ear may reduce the situation's intensity. If the consumer believes you are sincerely apologetic and want to make things right, they are likely to engage in a conversation geared at finding a solution.
Thanks to: Kate Libby of Best Kids.

142. Listen Lots

Listen a lot and speak infrequently. When someone complains, they expect you to take their complaint seriously and to listen to them completely. You must also completely comprehend the nature of the issue, or you will have little chance of successfully addressing it. So, at first, remain silent. Allow the customer to speak up.
Thanks to: Michelle Mayers of Best Cat.

143. Make Notes

It's critical to keep track of what's been said. Have a procedure in place for dealing with complaints, so that even the most minor ones are recorded. It's good insurance since something that appeared insignificant at the time could turn out to be something serious afterward. These must be signed and dated. It's a good idea to go over these notes with the complainant to double-check that you've grasped the facts and meaning of what they're stating. This will help to avoid future misunderstanding.
Thanks to: Stephanie Young of Best Camping.

144. Search for Solutions

Look for solutions instead of focusing on the problem. What do you think your company should do if the complaint turns out to be true, both to be fair and to maintain, if not improve, your company's reputation? In response to a complaint, don't just regurgitate the terms and conditions or the fine print. The complainant will almost definitely become enraged as a result of this.
Thanks to: Vanessa Dyer of The Magickal Cat.

145. Keep Talking

If you can't solve a problem right away, keep talking to the complainant and, if you've started a dialogue, keep it going, even if it's merely to deliver a regular status update rather than offering a solution. And, if you do put things in writing, don't use evasive language to hide what you're trying to communicate. Be kind, considerate, and sympathetic, but also forthright.
Thanks to: Robert E Henry of Best Coffee.

146. Give Solution to Customers

Engaging the customer in a conversation is the first step to calm them down. After you have evaluated their problem, offer them the options for a solution that you have for them. For example, if you give them two to three options, they will get busy thinking and choose what they find the most favorable. As a result, you will have a satisfied and happy customer.
Thanks to: Simon Brisk of Click Intelligence.

147. Use the Feedback to Improve!

In the event of a complaint or negative review, do all that you can to work with the customer to deliver the best experience possible. Afterwards, take the time to reflect on the negative feedback. Is it a legitimate complaint? Look for ways to improve your systems or processes and use the feedback to make your business better.
Thanks to: Ilir Salihi of Gold IRA Secrets.

148. Turning -ve Reviews to +ve

Many businesses are weary of customer complaints or negative feedback. However, these can be of great advantage to a business. Customer reviews give businesses insight to the customer's point of view, enabling them to identify and solve flaws. My #1 tip to deal with customer complaints is to be open and empathetic. This helps businesses understand customers' problems in order to solve them. The direct consequence of doing this is positive recognition from the customer, which facilitates growth.
Thanks to: Emily Perez of Kitchen Infinity.

149. Thank the Customer

From my experience, I believe that even if the circumstance was uncomfortable, you must be grateful in the end when customers complain. Thank the consumer for bringing the issue to your attention and providing your company the opportunity to improve once the solution has been delivered. That's also how you make them feel worthwhile and significant. Knowing how to handle client complaints and being able to address them successfully is critical to you.
Thanks to: Bradley Bonnen of iFlooded Restoration.

150. Acknowledge the Complaint

Acknowledging the customer complaint lets them know that you understand that they are upset and value what they have to say. You don't have to agree with them, but it prevents the situation from escalating. Ultimately, they want to be heard.
Thanks to: Carrie Derocher of TextSanity.

151. Take a Deep Breath

When a customer complains about your company, it's easy to go on the defensive, especially if you're invested personally in the business. The customer needs the problem solved, though, and defending yourself isn't going to do that.

Instead, take a deep breath, separate yourself from the situation, listen to the complaint, and place yourself on the customer's side. Work to find a solution you would be happy with if you were in their position.
Thanks to: Melanie Musson of Clearsurance.com.

152. Convert it to Positive

If you’ve received negative feedback, the best thing to do is address it head-on. If it comes in the form of a review, respond directly to their concerns, preferably in a public forum, to show that you take these issues seriously. If it comes in as an email or outreach form, reach out to the customer and see if you can resolve their problem. By speaking directly with the customer who faced an issue, you can help mitigate any negative feelings they have and hopefully convert them to positive.
Thanks to: Sean Carrigan of MobileQubes.

153. Follow Up

You should always stay in contact with the customer to understand how well their complaint was handled. Narrate all the efforts that are being put in to solve the issue faced and assure them that the same problem would not be repeated again. Educate your employees on how to deal with complaints and always put the customer first; added to that, you should always encourage your customers to provide feedback in order for your company to know what to improve.
Thanks to: Sue Hirst of CFO On Call.

154. Just Be HONEST!

Be HONEST at all times. Maintain a positive mindset. You are receiving valuable feedback from your customer. If they are unreasonable, tell them so & why you believe that. If they have a strong argument, agree with them. Take the appropriate measures to correct the situation. Thank them for bringing the issue to your attention & allowing you to fix the problem. Whenever you can take an upset customer & make them happy through your actions, you have now created a customer for life.
Thanks to: Steve Groom of Maryland Home Buyers.

155. Stay Calm

Even if it's difficult, you must remain calm when dealing with a consumer complaint. This can be difficult, especially since your company is likely a source of great pride for you. However, don't take the complaint personally; it's not a smear campaign. A consumer complaint will frequently reveal an area in your organization where you might improve.

Furthermore, getting irritated, losing your cool, or yelling at a customer is never a good thing.
Thanks to: Sam Browne of Find a Band.

156. Reframe the Word Complaint

The word complaint has negative connotations (think: whine, groan, grumble). A more positive mindset imagines the customer as displeased or dissatisfied, something less corrosive than a complainer. Reframing customer experiences in this way also gives your customer service team unconscious permission to view unhappy customers as something other than just bellyaching pains-in-bottom. A shift of mindset can be a real game-changer!
Thanks to: Ryan Stewart of Webris.

157. Be Willing to Adapt

Customer complaints are inevitable. There will always be a person that doesn't like something about what you're doing. It's important to remember that you can't please everyone but if there is a theme among the complaints, then it's time to adapt. As a business owner, you have to be willing to make changes based on feedback from the majority. Adapting is a major skill of successful businesses.
Thanks to: Sarah Mcfadden of GRIN.

158. Give Customers a Voice

Peer reviews, ratings & recommendations have become a major factor in consumer buying decisions, while sharing their discoveries with others. Mobile applications give consumers an easy and convenient way to do just that. Both positive and negative feedback gives the consumer a voice in their experience, in the brand, and in the products - which over time, will increase customer loyalty and satisfaction.
Thanks to: Jeff Newman of Mauka Technology.

159. Invite Customers Back

Negative feedback from a customer means something went wrong. You might not like how they say it, but customers provide a perspective that you as the business owner will never get. Find the part of the complaint that you can do something about. Respond with grace; thank them for bringing it to your attention, state the change you will make, and invite them back. There is nothing better for your business than customers changing their own negative reviews to positive ones!
Thanks to: Jenny Morse of Appendance, Inc.

160. Keep Your Promises

Companies that keep their word are a customer's first choice and that is the model you should follow as well, if you want the customer to always be satisfied. Complaints and improvements are a natural part of the improvement process and should be regarded as such; always be keen on improving and keeping your word to the customer, as it goes a long way in making a name for your company and the odd complaint every now and then can be managed well if you have built upon delivering to the clients.
Thanks to: Aqsa Tabassam of Pandio.

161. Always Start With an Apology

There is nothing more effective at diffusing an escalating situation than empathy. Customers want to feel as though their problems have been heard and appreciated, and nothing works better than taking ownership and accountability over a difficult situation. An apology works well regardless of the nature of the complaint, but what's most important is that you're genuine in your delivery. It's best to put your pride aside, apologize sincerely, and get one step closer to finding a solution.
Thanks to: David Marshall of Performio.

162. Distance Your Emotional Self

My best tip for dealing with customer complaints and negative feedback is to distance your emotional self. Customer complaints are not to be taken as personal attacks. Don’t get defensive when a customer tells you how your service was not up to their expectation or how dissatisfied they are. Think of them as advice. You need to listen to negative customers with a practical mind and treat them as if a mechanic is telling you what’s wrong with your car.
Thanks to: Megan Ayala of Patricia and Carolyn.

163. Reconsider Your Outlook

Complaints are almost always viewed as a bad thing - a negative reflection of your company's quality, and a stain on your reputation. However, effective businesses view customer complaints as an opportunity in both helping the customer reach a satisfying solution and improving operations so as to avoid such complaints in the future. In a way, customer complaints shed light on where companies are weak, and give you the opportunity to fill that gap.
Thanks to: John Li of Fig Loans.

164. Show You Are Listening

Once a customer complains, acknowledge it to let them know you listened and understand where they are coming from. This shows you respect and value what they have to say. Their complaint can actually shine light in an area that needs improvement.
Thanks to: Rym Selmi of MiiRO.

165. Follow Up With Each Complaint

Ignoring customer complaints is one of the worst things you can do as a company. No matter how ludicrous a complaint is, following up to see how you can better the situation is a must. If you don't, you run the risk of your company losing credibility and future business.
Thanks to: Christian Adams of Coffee Affection.

166. Listen to People

When a customer comes to you with a complaint, it usually implies they want to be heard. Even if the concern appears insignificant to you, it is obvious that it is important to them, since they have taken the effort to contact you.

People do occasionally complain just because they are having a bad day, but keep in mind that we all have bad days, and you never know what is going on in their lives.
Thanks to: Edward Mellett of Wikijob.uk.

167. Be Kind

Most of the time, remaining courteous and sympathetic can help to defuse anger and irritation. You can inform your consumer right away that you appreciate them reaching out to you about their issues and that you want to know how they're feeling. From start, a comment like this shows your consumer that you genuinely care and are willing to listen. You're well on your way to finding a reasonable settlement to a client's issue when they realize you actually care.
Thanks to: Rameez Usmani of Code Signing Store.

168. Customer Complaints

Deal with customer complaints by acknowledging what they are saying. It may not be a great situation, but when a customer is unhappy you must listen to figure out the real reason they are complaining.
Thanks to: Alex Czarnecki of Cottage.

169. When Customers Complain

When handling customer complaints, be sure to be flexible with how you respond. If there is no resolution available, then consider other options for helping them out. You could consider some B2B marketing with a local coffee shop or business. This is a creative and flexible solution.
Thanks to: John Levisay of The Pro's Closet.

170. Handling Complaints

The best way to deal with customer complaints is to thank your customer. Kill them with kindness as the old saying goes. Be genuine about it though. Make sure that you let them know how much you appreciate them and how they have taken the time to bring their concerns up. This will let them know that you are truly there to help.
Thanks to: Ajay Mehta of Birthdate Candles.

171. Complaints from Customers

When responding to a customer complaint, avoid challenging their complaint. It is so easy to want to simply tell a customer that they are wrong, but this will not help you out in any way. To diffuse the situation, listen to what they are saying, thank them for their business, and figure out a solution to their problem.
Thanks to: Omid Semino of Diamond Mansion.

172. #1 Thing to Keep You Winning

As a business owner, it is our responsibility to listen to our customers and provide solutions. When there are complaints, it is our job to listen, not belittle our customers. Let them know they are being heard and then address the problem. It could be something specific for them or address a much larger issue with the product.
Thanks to: Dillon Mitchell of Kowabunga Studios.

173. Follow Up

Never let your customers feel like being disregarded and unappreciated. They expect to receive the highest priority. Once you fail to call them again on time or forget to get back to them, they’ll get angrier. So you need to be clear and be upfront with them. The key here is to manage their expectations. Once you commit to them for a follow-up, let them know when and what to expect. With it, they’ll be more patient to wait for that follow-up and will never complain again while waiting.
Thanks to: Robert Gate of Archery Topic.

174. Take Action and Follow Up

Taking quick action of the customer's complaint with a sense of urgency determines whether your company receives good or poor ratings. Customers will respond more positively to your focus on helping them immediately rather than on the solution itself. Then, follow up to ensure the customer approves the resolution and is completely satisfied. Sending an e-mail acknowledging the complaint lets them know you're being proactive in looking into the problem a avoid the same situation in the future.
Thanks to: Joy Pilapil of Calibre Cleaning.

175. Keep Your Cool

Remaining calm keeps the situation from escalating. Remember, the customer complaint is not personal. It might actually relate to a matter that could use improving.
Thanks to: Michael Scanlon of Roo Skincare.

176. Humility Saves Relationships

Be humble. Customers will see that you accept your shortcomings and that you are prepared to fix the problem. Furthermore, if you let the consumer do the talking, he will eventually get tired of it and will allow you to explain later. You being humble means you value the customer-brand relationship, which the dissatisfied consumer will notice. It will enable them to lessen the negative emotions, which will encourage them to give you another chance to fix the problem and improve your services.
Thanks to: Jaia Aiyar of Créatif.

177. Offer an Apology

After a customer complains, offer an apology. You may not be at fault, but you don't want to make matters worse if the customer is still upset. Apologizing also lets them know that you think their complaint is important and you want to fix the problem.
Thanks to: Robert Applebaum of Applebaummd.com.

178. Find Out What They Want

Start a conversation with the customer to gather the facts of the situation. Ask questions to determine how the customer wants this issue resolved. Listen to them intently and express empathy as a way to build trust.
Thanks to: Chris Vaughn of Emjay.

179. Stop With the Excuses

When a customer has a complaint, the last thing they want to hear is an excuse - even if the excuse is completely relevant. If anything, excuses can make the customer feel as if they're not being heard, especially when you're not acknowledging the problem. When you're coming up with your rebuttal, you're not listening to the customer, and can therefore not fully comprehend what they may be experiencing.
Thanks to: Andrea Loubier of Mailbird.

180. Actively Listen to Customers

Remaining silent and actively listening to the customer complaint can really help the situation. Some customers just want someone to listen to them vent. This gives them enough time to calm down and can make it easier to find a resolution.
Thanks to: Haim Medine of Mark Henry Jewelry.

181. Offer Options

If a customer is upset enough that they take the time to address a problem that they're having with your service or product, then they've probably thought about it for a while. This means that, for the most common complaints, it doesn't hurt to be prepared with a few different options to help satisfy the customer. Plus, customers feel better when they're "in" on the choice, so offer them at least two options of how to move forward.
Thanks to: Alexandra Zamolo of Beekeeper.

182. Offer an Incentive

When a customer has a complaint, you will want to ensure that their problem is validated. While an apology is a great way to start, many customers will respond better if you offer them an incentive to continue using your services or products. So, consider a discount or a free month or upgrade. In the end, a little lost revenue to make a customer happy is well worth it - especially when they could convert to a customer for life!
Thanks to: Carrie McKeegan of Greenback Expat Tax Services.

183. Look for an Underlying Problem

When a customer complains, they may not be seeing the full picture. Therefore, it's your job to get to the root of the problem, so that it can be solved permanently. Too often, customer service teams apply a band-aid to a more serious situation. Instead, rectify the situation once and for all, as the last thing you'll want is another complaint from the same customer.
Thanks to: Greg Kozera of ELM Learning.

184. Keep Your Team in the Loop

When a customer complains, it's important to keep other team members who this may affect in the loop. Even if you feel as if you've rectified the situation, ensuring that everyone is on the same page can be extremely helpful - especially in dealing with similar scenarios in the future.
Thanks to: Viola Eva of Flow SEO.

185. Respond ASAP!

Quickly respond to the customer with an invitation to return to your business. Speed is key: our research on how to respond to negative reviews shows that 54% expect a response within 7 days. (1 in 4 need to hear back from you within 3 days.)

Inviting the customer to come back (and doing so publicly) does two things. 1: it demonstrates that you listen to feedback and take complaints seriously. 2: it shows confidence in your ability to resolve issues and provide a better experience next time.
Thanks to: Migs Bassig of ReviewTrackers.

186. Respond to Complaints ASAP

We’ve had our own share of customer complaints that improved the way we operate. There was one customer complaint that we made the mistake of taking too long to respond to. We answered her query, apologized for the slow turn-around, and asked how we could help her more. She suggested that we respond to our customers quickly and adopt a timely approach in asking our customers how we can do better. And so, the key tip on dealing with customer complaints would be to respond as soon as possible.
Thanks to: May Flanagan of Global Green Family.

187. Handling Customer Complaints

Apologize and find an actionable solution. This should be your immediate course of action. Don't waste everyone's time by shifting blame or making excuses. Own up to the mistake, provide an instant resolution, and move on.
Thanks to: Jack Miller of How I Get Rid of.

188. Anticipate & Prepare For Que

Do your homework ahead of time and be prepared to answer any questions that may arise as a result of the news. Above all, be truthful and forthright. Negative news spreads quickly in our fast-paced, tech-driven world, so it's better, to be honest than to let the news manifest into something bigger. Being prepared and truthful will assist in avoiding a public relations crisis.
Thanks to: Sandra Saenz of The Spanish Group LLC.

189. Learn to Deal With Complaints

So, the number one tip I have is this: Listen. By listening carefully, not interrupting or defending yourself at the first chance, you are in fact acknowledging the complaint and showing respect. Sometimes, it's difficult to remain silent, I know, but by doing so, your calm will almost always diffuse the situation. Once the other person has let off all their steam, they become almost vulnerable, making problem solving a lot easier and you'll be the stable person who saves the day.
Thanks to: Peter Erlandssson of All Guitar Stuff.

190. Find Customer's Wants & Needs

As CEO of digital marketing, I noticed that every complaint is a doorway to tremendous success. In fact, in my office, we call them moments instead of troubles. When I first started as a freelancer, the office was getting a lot of calls from customers who were irate that we showed such limited SEO services. Instead of ignoring or placating these calls, I asked my office manager to have discussions with these individuals. I think every “complaint” is a moment for production.
Thanks to: Shiv Gupta of Incrementors SEO Services.

191. Acknowledge and Afford

The most effective way to deal with an unhappy customer is to give up on any spots that will not cost the company too much money. For example, if a client is unhappy about the cost of an add-on service, consider turning it at a discount or free. Then, offer a customer service action that not only meets but exceeds their expectations.
Thanks to: Brack Nelson of Incrementors Web Solutions.

192. Own It

If you have received a complaint from a customer, or if negative feedback has been left, you need to accept that something has gone wrong in your processes. Investigate and address that problem for two reasons. You have to ensure the issue does not escalate or repeat. You also have to win back the trust of the customer. Establish contact and accept responsibility. Display empathy and explain how you are going to address the problem. Even a quick call can be a great relief to an anxious customer.
Thanks to: James Crawford of DealDrop.

193. Respond Not React

Nobody likes to hear negative feedback about their business, but it is something that is unavoidable. In order to take criticism constructively, it is important that you don’t react negatively or harshly towards your customer. That will only make things worse for you. You would take it as an attack on your personal self and forget that there was a lesson in the complaint worth looking out for. So respond immediately and carefully. The best response is to offer gratitude for their feedback.
Thanks to: Tyler Read of PTPioneer.

194. Document Their Responses

To benefit from customer complaints, you have to change your outlook on how you view criticism. In all fairness, customer feedback is a chance to improve and carry out better functioning. Record and save the feedback given to you, as it will help you identify and build a model based on the customer feedback and that can only reward your company with successful deals. They can be viewed monthly or weekly in order to check if you are staying on the right track.
Thanks to: Grant Clelland of Infinititracking.

195. Ask Questions

Customers feel more valued by companies that seem determined to improve their mistakes and you can start that by asking about their experience with the service or product that they were offered. The responses can be underwhelming as your customer has been disappointed, but try to engage them in a genuine conversation so they can feel comfortable around you and give you genuine pointers to work on. Just make sure that you do not repeat questions or push them into answering when they do not want to.
Thanks to: Axi Patel of RAAS.

196. Respond Quickly

The reasons for complaints can be different, but your customer service should be ready to respond to them accurately and timely. Nobody wants your answer after a few weeks. Your customer is stressed, they have an issue and need a solution. Show that you heard them! A quick response will lessen frustration, win you some time, and raise the chances of getting your client’s trust back. Remember that customer service is about time and reaction.
Thanks to: Michael Podolsky of PissedConsumer.com.

197. The LATTE Method

In order to turn customer complaints into positive feedback, my best tip is to employ the LATTE method. As described by Starbucks, it means to ‘Listen, Acknowledge, Take action, Thank, Encourage’. You should listen carefully when a customer complains, and then acknowledge that a problem with your service exists. Then, pacify the customer by defining necessary steps to resolve the problem and finally thank the customer for their effort in complaining.
Thanks to: David Clark of Basement Guides.

198. Face-to-Face Customer Service

At Tiger Specs, we believe that face-to-face customer service is key. These days, it's too easy to sit behind a computer screen, phone or live chat. Having a face-to-face conversation is a good chance to show your customer how important they are and that you are serious about solving their issue. As an online company, it is not possible to invite customers into our office however, a video call is a good substitute, and still allows you to convey non-verbal cues and sympathy.
Thanks to: Melvyn Dunn of Tiger Specs.

199. Ignore It

Ignore the complaint. I am not saying this applies to all, or even most, complaints and feedback, but every once in a while you will get feedback or complaints that are simply unreasonable. Be okay with just ignoring those.
Thanks to: Ray Blakney of Podcast Hawk.

200. Learn from Mistakes

After you deal with a customer complaint, take some time to reflect on the incident and come up with ways to avoid the situation in the future. For instance, if a customer did not appreciate a salesperson's personality, you can then emphasize to your sales team the importance of warmth and friendliness in their demeanor. Don't just get through dealing with the customer complaint; learn from it.
Thanks to: Matt Seaburn of Rent-a-Wheel.

201. Listen Patiently

Listen to your customers when they're venting. It may feel difficult to handle when they're explaining their issues with the company in full detail, but it's important to remember in these moments that they just want to feel heard. Let them get their frustrations off of their chest before you work with them to find solutions. Don't get defensive, even if you feel like it. Let them know through patient and attentive listening that you value and appreciate their questions, concerns and feedback.
Thanks to: Mary Berry of Cosmos Vita.

202. Fix Problems Quickly

Put your customers first and handle customer issues quickly. By rectifying an unsatisfactory experience felt by a customer as soon as possible, you're likely to make your them feel better about your company by fixing their problems with speed and efficiency. Ultimately this will leave them with a positive impression, letting them know that even if things go wrong again, you will still be able to help them out immediately.
Thanks to: Mike Pasley of Famous In Real Life.

203. Keep Them Informed

The best way to deal with customer complaints is to keep the complainers informed about how the compensation is going, whether it is a refund, a change of an item or a failure in a process that we must fix. If you send them, let's say, a daily email, they will see how you care and how you are actually working on it.

Many times, they feel so well-assisted that they will be happy to write a positive review or an appreciation post.

Also, state your name and make clear you are a human being.
Thanks to: Miguel González of Dealers League.

204. Listen and Learn

My advice is to improve your listening and comprehension skills. Some clients will work with you, while most will not. They believe you must make all the effort to meet their demands. But don't fret. Don't get too worked up if they don't respond well to your initial approach. It's as simple as listening. Don't pass judgment on a client based on their complaints. Start by figuring out what their individual needs are. Never dismiss a customer's problem, no matter how insignificant it seems to be.
Thanks to: David Clelland of Infiniti Tracking.

205. Remain Professional

It's important to remain professional when dealing with customer complaints. While being confronted in a negative way can feel stressful, you need to remember not to let your emotions get the best of you. If you break down and express either anger or panic in front of your customers, they'll have even less respect for you. Maintain a calm demeanor in order to exude confidence in your ability to handle any issues for your customers.
Thanks to: Chris Caouette of Gorilla Bow.

206. Seeing the Good in Bad

The biggest mistake I see businesses are doing is trying to defend themselves. Do not do this. If you are wrong, you are wrong, and the customer is always right. And it is an opportunity to see what is going wrong in your business. There might be some bugs or bad experiences that you are not aware of. Furthermore, if you solve the problem, the customer will be more grateful than an average customer and become a loyal user. So, embrace the negative feedback, be kind, and look for opportunities.
Thanks to: Noyan Alperen İDİN of Decktopus.

207. Make Them Feel Heard

Businesses can trip themselves up by trying to "fix" a complaint, while neglecting to make the customer feel heard. Above all else, you should demonstrate that you recognize and value their point of view. Further, let customers know that you appreciate them giving you the opportunity to improve your business. By thanking them for allowing you to understand their needs and better your services, you can actually turn complaints into an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with the customer.
Thanks to: Linn Atiyeh of Bemana.

208. Follow Up With Personal Touch

After acknowledging and fixing the problem, appease an unhappy client by following up with something meaningful. In my case, I prefer following up with something personal like a handwritten note apologizing for the incident and thanking them for their business. Extending a small discount on a product or service has also been particularly helpful in retaining disgruntled customers and even converting them into one of our biggest supporters.
Thanks to: Paul French of Intrinsic Executive Search.

209. Contact Matters

One tip that I use regularly when dealing with customer complaints is to stay in contact with them after the issue is resolved. Having a point of contact on a regular basis after fixing the problem helps to ensure that they feel cared for. It also helps in creating a lifetime customer as well, depending on how the issue was resolved and if it was in a timely manner.
Thanks to: Olivia Young of Conscious Items.

210. Listen to the Customer

The best way to deal with customer complaints involves listening to the customer and working together with them to come up with a solution to their problem. For example, if a customer complains about the texture of a mattress, they could be allowed to swap it for another one of similar value at no extra cost. Pleasing customers begins with validating their concerns.
Thanks to: Jeffery Brown of Big Fig Mattress.

211. Validate Their Complaint

In my experience, the best way to handle a customer complaint is to apologize and let them know that the complaint is valid and that that is not how your business normally operates. By validating the complaint, you reduce the risk of escalation, putting them in a more receptive mood for when you offer a solution.
Thanks to: Kyle Risley of Lift Vault.

212. Listen and De-escalate

How you handle that first interaction can set the tone of how the conversation will go for the next several minutes. The most powerful skill you can have when dealing with unhappy customers is de-escalation. This is when you just approach the situation in a calm manner, without having to be in "attack" mode. While some complaints are out of our control, like shipping delays when buying our health supplements, the point is that someone has a problem, and all they want is someone to listen to them.
Thanks to: Mike Kolb of Xwerks.

213. Understand, Relate and Fix

One of the best things you can do when dealing with customer complaints is to acknowledge that you understand why they are upset, relate to them and if possible, offer a solution. Most of the time, upset customers really just want to vent so instead of getting defensive or taking it personally, try saying something like "I'm sorry that happened, that always frustrates me, too. Let me try to do X to fix the issue."
Thanks to: Mark Daoust of Quiet Light.

214. Empathy is Key

Empathize with your customer!

Active listening and compassion are called for when dealing with an upset customer. When a customer goes as far as complaining about a service provided (or not provided) it is imperative to make them feel heard and understood.

Acknowledge their feelings, remain non-judgmental, be open to their suggestions and handle the issue as quickly as possible. This will show the client that you value them as a customer.
Thanks to: Jeanine Duval of Edelwyn.

215. Empathize With Their Concerns

Depending on how specific the complaint is, my team personally messages the customer to ask how we can improve, and then reassures them that the issue will be resolved by X date, or they can reconsider our relationship. We also don't have lock-in contracts, so this gives customers less pressure to make final decisions. If, for example, I learn that a customer is displeased with treatment from an employee, the employee will directly receive the feedback to take appropriate steps to improve.
Thanks to: Gareth Mahon of The CareSide Perth.

216. 180 Degrees on Perspective

By reframing the negative situation as a form of customer interaction, companies can have a valuable acumen in their process, products, and services and thus paving the road to having actionable changes for development.

Looking at negative reviews as an opportunity to engage with customers, rather than just a bad rap on reputation, you gain profitable insight, and focus your actions towards resolution of an issue from a user's end, while also discovering points of improvement on your end.
Thanks to: Chris Mcguire of Real Estate Exam Ninja.

217. Be the First to Break the News

Be on time and true to yourself. To avoid additional problems, be honest with your customers and let them hear the news from you, rather than a third party. Tell them what you intend to do to solve the problem or, at the very least, what steps you intend to take. Even if you haven't finalized all of the details, communicate what you can when you can.
Thanks to: Kerry Lopez of Incrementors.

218. Be Selfless with Rewards

Not every shipment arrives on time, so your customers share their bad experiences via online reviews. Therefore, you can fix the issue by making up for the bad experience with compensation assistance.

You can provide them with valuable coupons or other rewards to help improve their experience. It will show new and loyal customers that you value customer satisfaction above your own profits. By helping them save money on late purchases, you can retain current customers and acquire new ones.
Thanks to: Ben Reynolds of Sure Dividend.

219. Be Calm With Negative Feedback

In my experience, I've come about a lot of unsatisfied readers. They leave their negative feedback on my website. But, one thing that I've learned is that you don't respond to negative feedback by getting defensive or angry. You try to put yourself in their shoes and think from their point of view. My content might seem right to me because I am looking at it from my point of view. But, it may be hurtful for someone else.
Thanks to: Sudhir Khatwani of The Money Mongers.

220. Complaints Into Opportunities

When you receive a complaint, it's best to see it as an opportunity to illustrate how important that customer is to your company. The way in which you handle the challenge that the customer is facing will tell them much more about your company than any website page or media kit ever could. Let them see how quickly you will work to resolve the problem, while also ensuring that it doesn't happen again.
Thanks to: Lauren Kleinman of The Quality Edit.

221. Educate Then on Your Company

When a customer complains, see it as a golden opportunity to actually make them aware of what your company stands for - which should be providing your customers with high-quality products that they love. If, for some reason, a particular product and a customer are not a match, give a full refund or replace the product immediately. This is the lasting impression you want them to have of your organization.
Thanks to: Travis Killian of Everlasting Comfort.

222. This Is a Learning Experience

Whenever you must solve a customer complaint, always see this as a learning experience. After all, you must put yourself in their shoes, and see the potentially challenging aspects of your products or services that may not be ideal for some of your customers. Learning these things can help you improve some features and provide an overall better experience.
Thanks to: Heidi Robinson of Because Market.

223. Avoid Long Holds

If you've ever had the misfortune to lodge a customer complaint, more than likely, the first words you heard were, "Can I place you on a brief hold?" Well, we all know that those holds are rarely brief, and such a process only adds to the customer's overall dissatisfaction. Whenever possible, avoid placing a customer on hold, and if you must, actually keep it "brief". The more time they wait, the bigger the problem will actually feel.
Thanks to: Rachel Jones of Shop Hope.

224. Take Care of It Immediately

While it may take a few moments to take care of a customer's complaint, it surely only takes a few seconds to assure them that you will take care of it immediately. Starting off the conversation in this manner let's them know that they aren't going to receive any arguments from you, and that this will be a pleasant experience.
Thanks to: Timmy Yanchun of LTHR Shaving.

225. It's the Customer Experience

Everything that happens from the initial visit to your website to after-purchase questions or even complaints, is all a part of the overall customer experience. And the main thing to remember is that this "experience" doesn't end as soon as payment is made and the product is delivered. Making sure that your customers are happy with their products will be key in retaining them as a customer. Your marketing department can tell you how truly valuable that can be.
Thanks to: Jared Zabaldo of USAMM.

226. Customer Agreement

Agree with the customer and explain your own shortcomings. Nothing is more confusing to a customer than agreement, and pairing it with your own admission of fault usually turns a negative into a positive. Most people just want to be right, so acknowledging that will often get them to even compliment you.
Thanks to: Jim Pendergast of altLINE Sobanco.

227. Mirroring

Mirror your customers. Mirroring body language makes your customer feel more connected to you. Mirror face expressions and even add your own frustration.
Thanks to: Seth Lytton of The Detroit Bureau.

228. How Can We Make It Better?

At some point, every company will find themselves in a situation where they must address a complaint from an unhappy customer. However, keep in mind that the first words out of your mouth will set the entire tone for the conversation. So, when they begin to tell you that they have a problem, calmly ask, "How can we make it better?" Often, just simply acknowledging that you'll take care of things is enough to put your customer at ease and help bring a little positivity to the situation.
Thanks to: Jordan Duran of 6 Ice.

229. Dealing With Complaints

My best tip about dealing with customer complaints is to follow up and make sure the customer's concerns are fully addressed. It can be frustrating for the customer to complain, get an initial response or apology, and then see no action taken on the part of the company to remedy the situation.
Thanks to: Alistair Kennett of Optimale.

230. Hear Them Out

My best tip is to hear the customer out, listen to them and acknowledge their complaints and negative feedback.

Most of the time, customers are frustrated because they feel that their requests have been ignored and that nobody at the company cares about them. By hearing them out and acknowledging their concerns, you're showing that the company cares and listens to them.
Thanks to: Logan Mallory of Motivosity.

231. Being Proactive Helps

Treat it as an opportunity for strengthening the relationship with your customers. Customers want to see you take care of their complaint. Listen carefully and follow up by asking, "With your permission, I'd like your permission to investigate this”. This gives the customer the feeling of being heard and taken care of at the same time. Make sure to follow up close to time and contact the customer with a solution.
Thanks to: Peter Thaleikis of Which Login.

232. Establish a Department

The best thing to do is to develop a "complaint department" that will deal with complaints from the start. This department should have its own person in charge, and be separate from your regular customer service staff. They should be able to handle every aspect of the complaint, dealing with it as soon as possible and resolving it as quickly as possible. The key here is to make sure that every customer complaint represents an opportunity to solve a problem and make a customer happy (again).
Thanks to: Erin Stone of Greenspeed.

233. Dealing Customer Complaints

The best tip for dealing with customer complaints is to always end your response with a promise of action. While it is reassuring to know that their complaint has been heard, you need to offer the next course of action to avoid harming your business’ brand.
Thanks to: Eduard Klein of http://eduardklein.com/.

234. Savvy Customer Service Team

The key to reducing complaints and negative feedback is having a responsive and savvy customer service team available by phone, chat, email, text, skype, slack, and more. Most customers complain when they are unable to reach someone that can help. Have an accessible customer support team that can solve most customer inquiries before they become complaints.
Thanks to: Evan Albert of Seamless Chex.

235. Always Have a Can-do Attitude

As soon as you see the complaint and respond to it, try to collect all details you need to solve the issue. Show your engagement by staying in constant contact with the client and focus on what you can do for your customers instead of on what you cannot. Readiness to be there for a client, even the one who has already complaint, is key to leaving a positive impression and ensuring your credibility as a business.
Thanks to: Olek Potrykus of Tidio.

236. Dealing With Complaints

Always effective is to act quickly. Being able to respond to their concern as soon as possible should be always aimed. Cranky complainants, even those that are not, surely want speedy service considering that they are already disrupted by the problem.
Thanks to: Rhett Dennison of B&M Roofing.

237. Negative Business Feedback

When receiving negative feedback, refrain from getting your emotions out of hand. It is not a personal attack on you, so don't get defensive. Distance your emotional self and listen to negative feedback objectively; it may help you improve certain aspects of your business.
Thanks to: Dusty Roberts of Knoxville Roofing.

238. Please a Client With a Bonus

We usually offer free access or fine discounts to our unhappy customers. Users share their experience and the-bonus-giving fact with the network afterwards. At the very least, we increase our brand awareness. At maximum, this generous approach lures new clients to our company.

When rolling out new features, there are often complaints about flaws. So, we play with the situation and offer the client to be a beta tester. As a reward, we give them free access.
Thanks to: Tetiana Shataieva of HelpCrunch.

239. Customer Complaints

It is normal to receive customer complaints in businesses and as a business owner myself, the best way to deal with this is by treating it seriously. I will always take the importance of what they are complaining about and do something about it because this issue can emerge again and it can hurt my image and brand. That’s why I always take it seriously and this results in providing good customer service.
Thanks to: April Maccario of Ask April.

240. Increase Company Loyalty

Successfully handling customer complaints can actually increase customer loyalty. When you successfully resolve a customer’s issue, studies show that their brand loyalty actually increases, especially when a resolution happens quickly. Prompt responses to complaints also speak volumes about your company in a good way – it shows that you prioritize customer satisfaction and that you truly care about your customers.
Thanks to: Gabriel Dungan of ViscoSoft.

241. Don't Let it Get Personal

One of the biggest challenges of tackling comments that can be perceived as negative is making sure they don't affect you personally. The best strategy for dealing with feedback is compartmentalizing your work self from your normal self. Start by focusing on solving issues one at a time instead of tackling everything at once. Work on feedback on a set schedule. While addressing negative feedback is essential, taking care of your mental health is just as important.
Thanks to: James Edge of Crush The USMLE.

242. Deeds - Not Words

Customer complaints are actually a great opportunity to learn more about people’s perception of your business. The biggest mistake is taking these reviews personally and thereby ignoring them. Just as positive comments reveal what you need to keep, negative comments show what you need to improve. I suggest responding honestly to each comment and evaluating whether you can implement some of the ideas. If so, this will be the best response you could provide - deeds, not words.
Thanks to: Navarre Trousselot of Navexa.

243. Attempt to Resolve Issues

Don’t delete negative reviews on social media.

This can backfire when complaining customers spread the word of the deletion, and customers might become suspicious. Some customers might think too many good reviews means you’ve been deleting the bad, creating distrust since not every business will be perfect.

You can solve the customer issue by attempting to come up with a solution. Not every customer complaint can be solved, but new customers will notice your effort to resolve it.
Thanks to: Mika Kujapelto of LaptopUnboxed.

244. Valuable Market Research

Customer complaints can be used as valuable market research. An unhappy customer can actually provide you with more useful information than a happy one. They’re telling you exactly what they don’t like about your product or service, as well as sometimes sharing things they’d like to see instead. You can compile all of this data and use it as a way to make improvements or changes to your existing products.
Thanks to: Wesley Exon of Best Value Schools.

245. Dealing With Complaints

Be an active listener. This is important because if you don’t give your customers the space to voice their concerns, they’ll feel ignored and left out. Active listening helps you reach the root cause of the problem by getting a better analysis of what the customer is trying to convey. Plus, when you respond based on their comments, it instills them with a sense that you’re willing to offer a workable solution.
Thanks to: Jon Buchan of Charm Offensive.

246. Create a Response Plan

Brands should have a reputation management plan, which is the game plan for a company's response and actions after a problem arises with a customer. If you're honest with yourself, you cannot please everybody. Part of running a business is understanding this fact and caring enough to take responsibility for how consumers will view your business. Having a preemptive plan to diffuse any conflicts regarding your reputation will ensure the longevity of your company.
Thanks to: Kevin Miller of Kevin Miller.

247. Customer Complaints

LISTEN ACTIVELY AND THEN RESPOND AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.

Pay attention to what your customers have said; this includes looking back at old data and also listening in real-time. Show your customers that you listen to them and understand their problems. Listening attentively will also help you understand exactly what your customer needs from you; this feedback can be used to make your product or service even better. Also, once you know what your customer wants, make sure you respond quickly.
Thanks to: Justin Nabity of Physicians Thrive.

248. Don’t Take Feedback Personally

When someone’s talking about your company, it is often hard to not take the feedback personally. However, it’s important to not be defensive when responding to feedback. Always thank the customer for sharing their experience and find the best way to resolve the issue. If the feedback is from an online review, then try to take the conversation off-line. When the conversation is online, you’re essentially no longer just speaking to the reviewer, but anyone reading the review.
Thanks to: Alex Membrillo of Cardinal Digital Marketing Agency.

As always, many thanks to everyone that contributed to this article!

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Article written by
Carol Roth is a national media personality, ‘recovering’ investment banker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett (Shark Tank, The Voice, Survivor, The Apprentice) produced technology competition series, America's Greatest Makers, airing on TBS and Host of Microsoft's Office Small Business Academy show. Previously, Carol was the host and co-producer of The Noon Show, a current events talk show on WGN Radio, one of the top stations in the country, and a contributor to CNBC, as well as a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and other stations. Carol's multimedia commentary covers business and the economy, current events, politics and pop culture topics. Carol has helped her clients complete more than $2 billion in capital raising and M&A transactions. She is a Top 100 Small Business Influencer (2011-2015) and has her own action figure. Twitter: @CarolJSRoth