Dealing With Complaints

Avatar for Hadyn Luke Hadyn Luke posted this on Tuesday 14th of November 2023 Hadyn Luke 14/11/2023


Dealing With Complaints

Dealing with Client and Participant Complaints

Think of a complaint as an opportunity to solve a problem and make the customer happy.

Handling clients and participant complaints and ensuring you adhere to organisational procedures is important for a number of reasons:

  1. It creates a “can do” attitude and gives the complainant a positive impression of how complaints are dealt with.
  2. Adhering to organisational procedures will help ensure consistency and that everyone is dealt with equally.
  3. It reduces the likelihood of the complainant telling more people about the bad service they received.


LEAP complaint handling is a method of dealing with customer complaints in a way that is respectful, effective, and satisfactory.

LEAP stands for:

  • Listen: The first step is to listen to the customer’s complaint and understand their perspective. This shows that you care about their problem and want to help them. You can use active listening skills such as paraphrasing, asking questions, and acknowledging their feelings.
  • Empathise: The second step is to empathise with the customer and show that you recognize their emotions and frustrations. You can use statements such as “I can see how that would be upsetting” or “I’m sorry you had to go through that” to express your empathy.
  • Apologise: The third step is to apologize for the inconvenience or mistake that caused the complaint. You can use statements such as “I apologize for …” or “We are sorry that …” to take responsibility and show sincerity. You should also avoid blaming others or making excuses.
  • Problem-solve: The fourth and final step is to problem-solve and offer a solution that meets the customer’s needs and expectations. You can use statements such as “What can we do to make this right?” or “Here’s what we can offer you …” to propose a resolution. You should also follow up with the customer to ensure that they are satisfied with the outcome.


Listen to the complaint. No matter how angry the person is they will be unlikely to continue complaining for a long time. By remaining quiet and listening they will soon calm down and stop complaining.

Don’t interrupt as this will only fan the flames, make them more angry and they will continue to complain for longer.

Open-ended questions

Gather more information about the complaint by using open-ended questions.

Open-ended questions are questions that require more than a simple yes or no answer. They allow the person answering to express their thoughts, opinions, feelings, or experiences in their own words. Open-ended questions are useful for getting detailed and descriptive information, exploring new topics, and encouraging conversation.

Some examples of open-ended questions are:

  • What did you enjoy most about your last holiday?
  • How do you cope with stress?
  • What are some of the goals you have for your future?
  • How do you feel about the current situation in the world?
  • What are some of the skills you would like to learn or improve?

Open-ended questions have some advantages over closed-ended questions, such as:

  • They can reveal more information and insights that may not be anticipated by the questioner.
  • They can help build rapport and trust between the questioner and the respondent.
  • They can encourage creativity and critical thinking skills in the respondent.
  • They can reduce bias and influence from the questioner.

However, open-ended questions also have some disadvantages, such as:

  • They can take more time and effort to answer and analyse.
  • They can be vague or unclear if not worded carefully.
  • They can lead to irrelevant or off-topic responses if not focused enough.
  • They can be influenced by the respondent’s mood, memory, or motivation.

Therefore, it is important to use open-ended questions appropriately and effectively, depending on the purpose and context of the inquiry.

Open-ended questions usually begin with:

  • What?
  • How?
  • Why?

Active Listening

Listen attentively to what is being said, employing positive body language and eye contact. An


This is about asking the customer for more information in order to gather all the facts before you take any action. For example: “can you tell me more?” or “tell me how you felt about that?”.


Make sure that you have fully understood the situation, ask the customer to be more specific, or to help you understand what exactly occurred. For example: ” can you please be more specific?”.


Check that you have fully understood by repeating the customer’s statement by saying “what I hear you saying is” or “let me make sure that I have understood fully”. Verifying what you think you heard enables you to move forward.


Let them know that you understand how they are felling: don’t be defensive.

Accept Responsibility

Apologise and thank them for bringing the problem to your attention.

Propose A Solution

Propose a solution if you can. Know your own limits. Don’t get involved in a situation that you do not have the training or capability to resolve. If you are unable to resolve the complaint yourself, then introduce the complainant to the appropriate person who can.

You should follow the appropriate organisation’s procedure, which may involve recording all the details of the complaint and passing it on to the relevant member of staff to deal with.

This member of staff should make sure that the complaint is resolved satisfactorily.

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