Kovar Systems
Business Tips

How to Handle Customer Complaints

By Kovar Systems

It happens to all of us: A parent or student makes a complaint. You can’t just ignore it... By doing that, you send the message that you don’t want to fix the problem. When a customer (or potential customer) is dead set on arguing with you, you can defuse the situation in four easy steps:

  1. Thank the person for their comments – even if those comments were shouted at you. Remember: The attack is not personal, so don’t treat it that way. Keep your cool, even when being berated.

  2. Start your half of the conversation with this phrase: “Let me see if I understand you completely.” then restate the person’s argument – slowly.

    This does two things:
    1.  It gives the person a chance to calm down; and
    2.  It shows that you are truly listening, and taking their concerns seriously.

  3. Find at least one thing in the argument that you can agree with.
    Even if you think the argument as a whole is nonsense, pick out one major point you can agree with. Build your rebuttal on that point. For instance: “Well, Mr. Fryman, I can certainly see your point about your gear coming in late. I will make sure that doesn’t happen again. Now, about your other concerns…” By conceding a point or two right away, you show that you are not defensive about the situation – and that you really want to solve the problem, not blame or make excuses.

  4. Solve the problem to the best of your ability.
    Remember: When customers pick a fight, what they’re really saying is, “I have a problem.” Solve that problem. By doing so, you turn a negative around, and actually gain points.

Smart business people don’t mind when customers complain. They see it as their chance to shine – to win the customer’s loyalty.


by Kovar Systems