When it comes to complaints or complaining what’s your style? Is there a right or wrong way.  Today we are going to explore the best practices in complaining. Discussing the how to complain, discussing how to respond to a client complaining about others and of course the personal complaint. 

I love discussion posts and always feel that I learn so much after posting my own thoughts. The art of complaining may have a part two in its future. 

Let’s begin by discussing the How to complain. 

  1. Talk to the person who your complaint is with. Always go to the source first. This gives them the opportunity to make things right or change behaviours. ( if not getting results that are expected move to next steps) 
  2. Ask to speak to a manager or owner of the establishment. Begin by asking if you can find a private area to speak. This takes it away from others so that respectfully no one else can hear your complaint. This also prevents others from getting defensive during a complaint. 
  3. State your complaint in a calm and relaxed position while keeping your voice in a soft tone rather then being aggressive. Try not to demand anything, allowing the establishment to react and  make things right without being told. 
  4. Only when you have exhausted all the above  (and still are not feeling good about the situation ), this is the time you suggest the desired outcome. Let the owner know what you would like for an outcome. Express how they can make it right for you. Not everyone is good at knowing what to do , (sometimes they need to be told what you want). 
  5. Give the establishment sometime and follow up within the week. We can’t be in a rush with complaints. Reaching out thru social media platforms should always be a last resort to be heard. 

Is someone complaining to you about another business / establishment? 

  1. Be genuine, I often say I’m saddened to hear you had a bad experience. 
  2. Educate the person on the steps above on how to complain. Reminding someone of the steps to taking it private, showing respect will often shut down negative conversations.  The way you reply in your business is often being heard publicly. Choose kindness and compassion. 
  3. Never get into negative talk about other businesses. We all know there are many sides to many stories and we will all find ourselves in these situations. 

When the complainant is complaining about “you”. 

  1. Immediately show compassion. “Thank you for bringing this to my attention “. 
  2. Take this conversation to a private area. This keeps conversation from escalating or creating a scene.
  3. Listen. Stop responding and just listen. 
  4. Keep yourself from getting defensive and ask how can I make this right?  We all just want to be heard when we are complaining and often we already know what can make it right. 
  5. You can’t fix what you don’t know. To fix a situation you need to process what went wrong.  Making  a manager / owner aware is always good practice. 
  6. Make good on what you know. Offer options within the establishment to make it right. By acknowledging and correcting within the establishment keeps you from loosing this client to somewhere else. 
  7. The solution may be as simple as an apology or a financial return and the client going elsewhere. Take a deep breath, learn from your mistakes and carry on.
  8. Allow the manager / owner to share these moments with the team as a learning opportunity.  We can all learn from one another’s mistakes and come up with solutions together so future complaints are prevented. 

How do you handle complaints? What are your questions on this topic? Send me your feedback, businesses want to know.