Customer complaints are an inevitable part of running a trades business, whether they’re the result of an oversight or error on your part, or you’re the victim of a serial complainer.


Regardless of who’s at fault, complaints have the potential to damage your business’ reputation, particularly in an age when online reviews or comments on social media play such a vital role in a customer’s decision-making process.


The way you handle a complaint is crucial to not only protecting your trades business, but in turning the complaint to your advantage. To help you strike this balance, we look at 4 types of customer complaints and how to handle them without losing your cool.


1. A Lack of Communication When you’re running a trades business it’s easy to miss a call or an email or forget to check your socials for DMs. Unfortunately, what is often just an oversight can occasionally result in a complaint. The best way to respond to this situation is to apologise and provide a speedy solution to the customer’s query. Even better, avoid the issue from the get-go. With Thryv Command Center, all your customer enquiries and communications are forwarded to one central inbox, so you’ll never miss a call, email, or social media message again.

2. The Quality of Your Service or Product As most trades businesses take great pride in their work, this is one of the hardest complaints to tackle. The first step is to resolve the complaint to the best of your ability – fix up the problem or exchange the faulty product. Next, turn your attention to the customer. If they’ve left a bad review, respond to it in a positive manner. Thank them for bringing the issue to your attention, detail what you’ve done to resolve it, and assure them that it’s not indicative of your work overall. A speedy resolution and showing that you value their feedback can sometimes turn a disgruntled customer into a loyal fan.

3. Pricing, Fees, and Refunds This is another tough one for trades businesses, as it impacts how much money you bring in. Customers might think you’re charging too much, that you haven’t been transparent about fees added to their invoice, or they’re not happy with your service and want their money back.

The most valuable advice we can give is to explain everything as clearly as possible from the start. For example, outline the factors affecting your pricing structure before undertaking the work. In the case of fees and refunds, be upfront at the point of quoting for a job so the customer is aware of any additional fees and your refund

policy. While it may seem time-consuming, ticking off all these boxes before a problem arises can save you a lot of headaches in the long run.

4. Social Media Complaints The evolution of social media into a busy marketplace has meant that trades businesses now have a more personal and direct relationship with their customers, as well as the inevitable drawbacks this involves. These can include negative comments on your posts, bad Facebook reviews, or angry DMs in your inbox, none of which are very pleasant to deal with. Firstly, find out if the complaint is real or not – there’s always a chance it’s just someone trolling your page. Once you’ve done so, respond as politely as possible. If the comment is on a public post, suggest taking the issue into DMs to resolve it in private. If it’s a negative Facebook review, thank them for their feedback and steer the conversation in a constructive direction. Be transparent about why the issue occurred, what you’re doing to fix the situation, and what you’ll do to make sure it doesn’t happen again in future.


Most importantly, always keep at the front of your mind that how you handle a complaint has the potential to either lose a customer for good or gain a loyal advocate for your trades business.


To learn more about the personality types of customers who complain and how to handle them, check out the full article here.

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