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How to Deal with Complaints About Employees

Complaints management is difficult no matter what your Customers are concerned about. This holds especially true for complaints about your team or individual employees, and should be treated differently than product or service complaints.

In this blog post we'll discuss certain steps that your team should take when resolving complaints that are made about your employees.

1. Decide if the complaint is justified or unjustified

Once a customer has made a complaint about your employee you need to very carefully examine whether or not said complaint was actually merited.

This can sometimes be really easy; say the complainant didn't like the way your employee looked or dressed. Obviously, this complaint would be unjustified, unless of course your employee was dressed in something inappropriate or unprofessional.

Other times, this decision can pose a problem. If Mark complains that your employee was unhelpful or rude, it doesn't necessarily mean that this was the case. The best approach is to retrieve the call recording if there is one, otherwise a closer examination must take place. That's when you turn to the next case.

2. Get the story from your employee

So what do you do when Mark says that your employee, Tina, was being unhelpful or rude?

Get the other side of the story.


Photo via reutersmedia.net

You should directly turn to your employee for any complaints made about them (be they justified or unjustified), and make them aware of what exactly the customer had a problem with.

If, like in the above example, a customer had a problem with the way your employee was dressing, alert your employee and kindly remind them about the importance of appropriate dress.

If it was a genuine concern about the behavior of your employee, you should make sure to find out your employee's side of the story to see if they match up. Perhaps Mark was overreacting or perhaps Tina had an off day.

If there is some discrepancy in stories, you can then turn to any witnesses or co-workers that were present during Tina's shift. At the end of this step, you should have a pretty good idea about whether or not this complaint was justified or unjustified.

3. Commence with the complaints handling process

Before starting this step, keep in mind that these types of complaints are very different from product and service failures, and thus should be treated differently.

Complaints handling in this regard involves repairing your brand image-a bad employee obviously reflects badly on your company.

To do this you need to respond to the complainant in a very timely manner, to prevent any negative remarks your complainant could make by word of mouth or social media. Ergo, you must go through the appropriate complaints management steps that involve contacting your employee, providing a solution, apology or explanation, and later checking up on the customer.

If your employee is at fault, you must also decide what action to take-be it a warning, a meeting, or even letting the employee go.

Remember that regardless if the complaint was merited or not, your customer still deserves your professional attitude and courteous response.

4. Responding to an unjustified complaint

Responding to a complaint that shouldn't actually be a complaint is probably one of the most difficult parts of complaints management.

So how do you address a customer whose problem isn't actually a problem?


The first rule of a responding to unhappy customers is: make them happy! Regardless of the fact that this complaint was unjustified, customer satisfaction is still your priority and thus action should be taken.

Above all, you must never tell your employee that their complaint was unjustified.

Instead, comfort the customer by thanking them for their input and letting them know that you will speak with the employee in question and take appropriate measures. Of course, appropriate measures in this case should not be reproachful, though it can't hurt to just remind your employee of good behavior practices, just in case.

To learn more about this somewhat controversial topic, check out the blog post: Reacting to Unjustified Complaints.

As with the rest of good complaints handling practices, keep in mind that your objective is to listen, value, and respond to your customer, regardless of the nature of their complaint.

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