Seven top tips for dealing with client complaints

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Bill Hogg explains how to turn a negative client comments into repeat business.

Unfortunately client complaints are a fact of life in most businesses, but they can be worth their weight in gold if organisations can learn from them and use the information to improve their service. When dealt with properly, client complaints can be used to build a better client experience and turn a dissatisfied client into a raving fan. A good response to a complaint also ensures you’ll receive that particular complaint only once, as the company will know how to handle that issue in advance in the future.

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Employees must understand that the client’s anger is directed toward the company, not them personally. It might be difficult to remember this when clients are r...

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About Bill Hogg


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11th Nov 2009 09:05

...not sure about no returns...

If by "[the policy is to] never accept returns on clearance items" you mean never to give refunds for the items then I think that's illegal if the reason for the return is that the goods were faulty but sold as perfect. In these circumstances I think you have to offer a straightforward refund, not a credit note, gift token or similar.

I believe a recent EU ruling has extended the long-standing UK right on returns so that refunds have to be offerred for goods that fail at any time (even outside any warranty or "reasonable life" period) where the failure was caused by a fault present at the time of sale.

It might of course be tricky for the customer to prove that the fault that eventually led to a problem was present when they bought the goods.


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By squay
23rd Nov 2009 02:58

Disappointing Article

The title of this article showed promise. It's always good to get advice on handling clients' complaints and when your a sole practitioner another viewpoint is always useful. This article fell short for two reasons. It wasn't especially aimed at accountants. The example of the retailer and the clearance items show how the article had lost its way and has little relevance here. Secondly, I am a sole practitioner with no employees. Much of the article concentrated on how employees had to be empowered by management to deal with complaints, not how to deal with the complaints themselves.

I agree with Mr Hogg that one should listen to a client's concern and strive to turn a negative to a positive. Of course try and keep the client and learn from the complaint. I find the the few negtive comments I have had this year are about fees. In a recession one can expect this and despite not increasing fees this year the cost of running a practice doesn't get any cheaper. I wonder how Mr Hogg would deal with this "complaint?" Overall there was very little in the article for me. Had the title been "Seven top tips for employees dealing with client complaints" I would have skipped it.

Stephen Quay


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