Complaints. What is the company’s complaint handling style?

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One of the most important customer support processes is customer complaints handling. By submitting a complaint, customer expects to receive an explanation and a solution to his problem.

When processing complaints, agent must adhere to the rules of business correspondence as much as possible, try to show empathy. If the customer is very upset, provide information only regarding the essence of the complaint, without violating confidentiality and trade secrets.

An equally important criterion is the response time to the complaint, the sooner the response is provided, the better, but response must not be given later than the deadlines specified in the contract.

By separating the situation / event for which the complaint was received, and the processing of the complaint itself, in case of sticking to facts and sound reasoning, in most cases it is possible to achieve not only customer satisfaction, but also increased loyalty.

The correct procedure for the manager’s actions, a detailed assessment of the reasons for which the complaint arose, allows the customer to move from the state of dissatisfaction to the state of resolution. It is important to make sure that customer feels supported through helpful attitude of the agent. Thus, the agent / manager transfers the customer to the zone of satisfaction with the quality of service.


Let’s consider the main aspects of the flip side of the coin – what happens on the company’s side after receiving a complaint?

There are several modes of complaint handling:


  • directive (answer is given strictly within the framework of the approved rules and agreements establishing the rights and obligations between the company and the customer);
  • customer-oriented (exceptions to the rules are possible, individual compensations for the damage caused, additional bonuses, gifts, etc.);
  • company – oriented (in contrast to the directive style, the controversial points of the rules are interpreted in favor of the company).


It is obvious that the style of handling complaints directly affects the customer’s rating of the company.

So in the case of a directive style, the company maintains a strong position and reputation as a player who fulfills its obligations. With a customer-oriented approach, the likelihood of acquiring new customers and market share growth increases. The third handling style allows companies to save resources, but at the same time, the risk of losing a part of existing customers increase, the number of negative reviews increases, and a drop in customer ratings might be observed.


Majority of large and influential market players nowadays use combined methods of processing customer requests, which imply an individual approach and a comprehensive assessment of the subject of each complaint and the customer. This allows one or another processing method to be applied in order to obtain an optimal result and minimize the degree of customer dissatisfaction. In turn, this requires additional costs from the company for training contact center agents and staff development.


A more detailed assessment shows that companies are interested in the examination and processing of customer complaints no less than the customers are interested in complaints resolutions. This is due to existence of the closed circle of processes in most large companies and interconnectivity of sales, marketing and customer support. Effective customer support service reporting when developing company’s strategy, changes to processes in order to eliminate shortcomings, releasing an improved product or service – in big part this is the result of correct processing of complaints and information received from customers and about customers. All that helps to meet their needs and increase their loyalty …

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