5 steps to deal with customer complaints

The top rule of sales management was and will remain that the “customer is always right”. It is the customer that can make or break your sales and revenue. Moreover, one satisfied customer has the power to give you more business by word of mouth. Similarly, a dissatisfied customer can not only take away his business from you, but also others who he shares his discontentment with.

Hence, it is very important to have each and every employee fully trained in customer satisfaction and handling customer complaints. A business and its employee’s ability to handle customer complaints effectively and efficiently can turn customers into active promoters for the business. In this world of social media anything good and especially bad that a business does spreads like wildfire. Moreover, a complaint also gives insight to the management on how they can further improve their services to provide a better experience.  Hence, customer complaints are nothing to be taken lightly and if properly handled, they can take your business to bigger and better avenues.

The steps to handling an angry customer and turning him into a loyal advocate are as follows:

Listen and Understand

Listen to the customer’s complaint patiently and let them finish what they are saying. Do not interrupt them and aggravate their frustration. Customers may often be harsh and rude due to their level of discontentment but do not take their comments personally. If an angry customer cannot frame his words properly, then try to ask open ended questions in a calm voice to help them properly explain the problem so that an effective solution can be found.

Understand the exact situation and repeat it to the customer to assure that you have properly interpreted the complaint. This will assure to the customer that you have taken their complaint seriously and also correct you in case you misunderstood anything. Do not challenge the customer or voice his frustrations. Just note down the issues.


Try to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and express empathy for the customer regarding the unpleasant experience he has had. Politely apologize for the issue he has faced. One thing to note here is that do not shuffle the customer from employee to employee. Ensure there is an available customer service employee who has the authority to handle customer complaints and take the necessary action. An angry customer will simply get angrier and angrier on repeating the problem to one employee after the other.

Offer a solution

In this step you can either ask the customer what solution he deems best to counter the dissatisfaction or you can also offer your own solution and enquire with the customer if they would be happy with it. By this step, you will give the customer confidence and assurance that it is their opinion which matters and you have empowered them with the solution.


Once you and the customer have agreed on the solution, execute it quickly. Do not delay the solution as more feelings of resentment will build up in the customer if his time is wasted. Quickly solving the problem will ensure a more satisfied customer whose problem was taken seriously and solved efficiently.

Follow up

As mentioned before that customer complaints can provide an insight into what is lacking in your company as well as help promote good word of mouth about your business. Hence, a follow up is absolutely crucial to harbour positive feelings about your business in the customer. It will also help verify that the problem has been truly resolved.

Every business big or small encounters customer complaints. However streamlined your business is, there will always be room for dissatisfaction in a customer. Hence, look at all complaints positively to improve your business and services more and more.

More topics in handling customer complaints, you can check CBP Customer Service.

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