Dealing with disputes and customer complaints

One of the most important aspects of your business, and one that is key to both gaining future customers and retaining your existing ones, is customer-facing.

Unfortunately sometimes we have to deal with the occasional complaint, so here, we talk about how you can deal with disputes in the best way possible in order to protect you and your business.

      1. Above all else – handle the complaint effectively

The key to any successful business is a loyal customer base. Whilst customer complaints may not seem like the most obvious way to garner loyalty and glowing reviews, responding to them effectively and efficiently often is.

This is because taking the time to respond personally to an individual makes them feel valued as a customer and listened to – rather than being treated like a statistic. By taking the appropriate steps to tackle the problem, you create that personal connection with your customers that can make them feel confident that they’re not just hiring another plumber, but a professional they can trust.

Once your customers know that you take their complaints seriously, they know they can count on you to put things right if something doesn’t quite turn out as expected.

      1. Don’t take it personally

It’s easy to take complaints personally when you take pride in your work. However, that state of mind is not the healthiest one to be in if you’re going to respond professionally.

More often than not, the thing your customers are complaining about may simply be the result of a miscommunication or unmanaged expectations. It may be easier said than done, but remember that this is just business and that as a business owner, you can be grateful for the opportunity to put things right and gain a loyal customer.

      1. Follow your complaints procedure

Now that you’ve received a complaint, do you have a complaints procedure in place for handling them? A procedure will ensure complaints are dealt with the same way, every time. The procedure should be easy to understand and follow by all your staff.

Your procedure could include the following steps:

    • Listen to the complaint
    • Record details of the complaint
    • Go through the complaint in detail so you can understand exactly what the problem is. Keep records of all complaints in one central place or register. This will help you identify any trends or issues
    • Discuss options for fixing the problem
    • Ask the customer what response they are seeking: it could be a repair, replacement, refund or apology. Decide if the request is reasonable.
    • Act quickly and keep your promises
      1. Don’t leave it there

Having dealt with the complaint appropriately, we recommend following up with a courtesy call or email. This one simple step can go a long way in creating a favourable impression of your business and, again, help build that personal relationship with your customer that results in their long-term custom.


Whether you are a large company or a self-employed tradesperson, you should try to have a complaints procedure ready at hand, to save from impulse actions that could hurt your business in the long run.

We are here to help and support you, if you have any questions on this topic please get in touch with us on 0121 711 5030 or email