5 steps for handling customer complaints and turning conflict into moments of magic

Handling customers complaints well is the best way to set yourself apart as a brand

If* and when a client, customer, patient, guest, member (or any other person receiving a service or buying a product from you) complains about your company/service/product, your gut reaction is, more often than not, to be: defensive, take it personally, recoil in disgust, hit the roof, dismiss it, or (normally) a combination of the above.

But in fact, we need to start looking at “customer complaints” as treasured insights to better understand your client and have an opportunity (which is sometimes rare), to create “moments of magic” where a customer least expects it.

This becomes a fantastic opportunity to outshine your competitors and ensure you create some loyalty and build trust with your client or customer.

Ready to start creating moments of magic in difficult situations? This is how to do it:


1. Put Yourself in Their Shoes – One word: Empathy. We all know the frustration of having an issue not getting resolved – they probably account for the majority of those grey hairs you have. Use your experience of how YOU would like to be treated as the basis for your interaction.


2. Listen – Let them vent, and do not take it personally. No one likes being on the receiving end of a complaint – but if you actively listen to their point of view, you will gain their trust and they will be more receptive to listening to you.


3. Identify – Get to the bottom of the problem – what is the root cause for their complaint? Clarify what they are concerned about so you are both on the same page.


4. Don’t Play the Blame Game – Face it, someone messed up. Now is not the time to point fingers, now is the time to take responsibility and a chance to fix the problem and create a moment of magic.


5. Resolve the Issue – You have made it this far, so now it is time to be genuine and willing to find a solution. Involve your customer, and ask them how they would like it resolved. Be sure to give them a realistic timeframe for feedback, and don’t rush – make sure it is fixed. No one likes repeat issues.


 If you made it through all 5 steps, congratulations! Chances are your client or customer now feels seen, heard, and valued. And hopefully, you have not only resolved the issue but you have built trust and brand loyalty. Go ahead and try it next time someone complains – you will be pleasantly surprised!


*We mentioned “if” because how easy is it for a customer to complain to you? Have you ever tried to reach out to an online-only service provider but had to jump over 100 hurdles and fight off some bots before you get to a person? Sometimes companies make it impossible to contact them, and this is really going to stunt their growth…but more on this soon ?