Ask The Expert How To Address Customer Complaints

Ask the Expert: How to Address Customer Complaints

June 7, 2019
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No matter how great your track record is, you’re likely to run into an unhappy customer at one time or another. Knowing how to handle these situations can make all the difference. Address a complaint with grace, speed and care, and you’re more apt to keep your customers coming back for more — despite the issue they’ve experienced.

Now, we don’t like to toot our own horn, but we are known for our amazing customer service. So, from one customer-service pro to the next, we’d like to share a little about our approach on the off chance it helps you improve yours.

Here are the five key elements of our customer service credo!


You’d be surprised how bad habits negatively impact your ability to listen, without you even realizing it. To ensure you’re taking in what customers say, practice your active listening skills. This technique requires you to give your undivided attention. Rather than passively “hearing” a message, concentrate and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification to ensure you’re interpreting the situation correctly. Also, let your customers know that you’re listening by giving them verbal and non-verbal cues and paraphrasing what you’ve learned along the way.


Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. While you won’t always see things exactly as they do, you can try to understand where they are coming from. By actively listening and asking a combination of open-ended and probing questions, you can get at the crux of the problem and figure out what kind of resolution they expect. Lastly, don’t discount the power of showing a little empathy. If you can put your emotions aside and instead make them feel validated in their position, you’ll help diffuse the situation and keep the conversation productive.


If a customer is taking the time to bring an issue to your attention, you can bet your bottom dollar they want a solution. And not just any solution — they expect a quick and generous one. However, this is where things can get tricky. Unless your organization empowers its employees to provide solutions on their own, it’s easy to drag out the process and upset the customer further. At all costs, try to circumvent any unnecessary runaround for the customer. Talk in advance with supervisors to identify appropriate solutions for hypothetical problems. And, if you end up needing to escalate a real-time issue, do it quickly and don’t make the customer repeat themselves again and again.

Follow up

You know the saying, “let bygones be bygones?” Well, ignore it (to a degree). Even after you’ve come to a resolution, carve out time to check in with the customer after the dust has settled. For foodservice professionals, this might mean circling back at the end of the meal with a free drink or dessert. Or, for others, it could be as simple as a follow-up email summarizing the solution and reiterating your sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused. Whatever you do, show your customers that you care and that you value their business. Just remember to read the situation and avoid any follow up that could come off as pestering or inconsiderate.


Although you never like to hear that your customers aren’t thrilled with their experience, there’s a silver lining. Hearing directly from customers allows you to gather feedback, learn from it and improve. To get the most out of it, make sure you have a process for tracking and communicating feedback internally. And remember, it’s not a blame game. Create a safe environment, so all employees are comfortable sharing everything from the amazing to the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Ovention promise

At Ovention, we put customers first. From our high-quality, innovative ovens to our relentless commitment to service, we are determined to be the best part of your day. And while we could tell you all about our amazing technology and the culinary inspiration our ovens deliver, we’ll let our customers do the talking. Click here to hear what other industry leaders have to say about us!

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