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How to Handle Customer Complaints

You know what’s super fun? Customer complaints. Just kidding. They’re pretty much the worst. BUT if you have a process in place to handle them, they don’t have to be quite as horrible an experience. Being proactive, responsive and clear can help you navigate the discomfort of it all. Here’s some insight into how to handle customer complaints. 

Get proactive 

One of the best ways you can prepare yourself for customer complaints is to be one step ahead. Have all of your policies clear and in place. You can easily let your potential customers know what your expectations are by sharing all of your policies, terms, products and services in a way that makes them easy to access and even easier to understand!  

  • Have clear T&Cs on your website to protect you, your business and your customers. 
  • Share FAQs online, along with detailed product and service descriptions. 
  • Make sure you have your returns and refunds policies in place and clearly accessible on your website. 
  • Same goes for your shipping policy! Being transparent and having policies that are easy to find will help save you time (and trouble!) in the long run. 
  • Need help getting sorted? Check out our T&Cs, privacy policy templates and more. 

Make yourself available. Time-wise and empathy-wise! 

When a customer approaches you with a complaint (knowing at this point you’ve got all of those proactive items in place!), it’s important to listen. Before you get any defensive hackles up (which can certainly happen depending on how the complaint is made), do your best to understand the customer and empathise with them.  

Open conversation can do wonders and can often be all you need to find a solution that works for both parties. But if you need to dig deeper, it’s ok. You’ve got this! 

Step by Step (Ooo, baby…) 

If the initial conversation didn’t get you sorted, it’s time to set up your game plan. 

  • Let them know that you’ll explore the complaint further from your end. 
  • Give them a solid time frame for when you’ll get back in touch. 
  • Be clear about what the next steps will be (you investigate. You touch base. You speak to your employee., etc.) 
  • Make sure you set expectations clearly and always respond in a timely fashion so they know you aren’t trying to push their issue aside.  
  • Approach them with your solution, with grace. 

Hopefully, your solution isn’t too difficult to swallow and both parties can part feeling good about the exchange. If you’ve done your due diligence and have all of your policies, faqs and legals in place, you should be golden! 

Ultimately, you need to do your part to make the customer feel heard, understood and appreciated. At this stage (if they posted a poor review before approaching you. Ew.) your customer should leave content with the solution and take down any unseemly reviews or amend them with a kind word.  

Good luck, dear friend. You can do it! If you need any support or have questions about how to get proactive, reach out for your consultation.  





Riz McDonald is an e-commerce business owner, business coach, podcaster and a lawyer for over 16 years. She’s also a mum and a lover of good wine...she only ever drinks the cheap stuff when she’s stoney broke. 

***Disclaimer. Please read!!*** 

This article is for general information purposes only and should be used solely as general guidance. It does not and is not intended to represent legal advice or other professional advice.   

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