Mindset matters - how to excel at managing complaints

Mindset matters – how to excel at managing complaints

Mindset matters – how to excel at managing complaints

Equipping everyone in your organisation with the ability to positively handle any complaint or feedback, however it is received into the organisation, is a tipping point for customer satisfaction. This is extremely important because when a complaint or any feedback comes into an organisation it is a well-documented and researched fact that how we respond has implications that go way beyond the initial concern of the customer.  


It starts with mindset  

Being clear in your organisation that it is everyone’s responsibility to be on high alert for feedback, compliments and complaints is a fundamental requirement of excellent feedback management. Taking pride in how feedback is encouraged, welcomed and responded to can become a cornerstone of your organisational culture. Excelling at managing all feedback and complaints starts with mindset. Everyone needs to truly believe that all feedback is invaluable and that whatever the customer’s view, it is better for us to know about it than not, and when feedback is positive, it is motivating for teams to hear it and use it to continue to provide excellent service.  


What is your organisational mindset around feedback?  

Is it that feedback is truly invaluable and do your processes and systems provide a mechanism to ensure it is easy to welcome it, investigate as necessary and respond in a timely and positive way?  

How your organisation views feedback from the most senior team through to the frontline gives a helpful insight into your true customer focus. Beyond having the mindset that all feedback is invaluable, there are three other key factors that will help everyone to excel when feedback comes their way.  


Ownership and accountability 

Firstly, is there a culture of ownership and accountability across the organisation, and is this demonstrated in feedback situations? Ownership can be clearly seen when people welcome feedback positively as it comes into them and then take responsibility for ensuring that any necessary action is managed to a conclusion. There should be a clear expectation that when feedback is received, that the recipient conscientiously makes sure it is followed through or is carefully and professionally passed on to others to manage, taking care to ensure that those involved are absolutely going to do everything necessary to ensure that the feedback is valued. 

Building a culture where people feel empowered to act and provide solutions to customers who have given feedback as quickly as possible rather than need to escalate or refer to others is both efficient and highly effective. Interestingly, when looking into situations that are escalated in our customers, with empowerment and permission to resolve, many more feedback situations can be satisfactorily resolved at the outset.  



Complementing the desire to take ownership is a mindset of solution-orientation. You will see and hear your team focusing on how to resolve the situation, being creative and focused on finding a way forward that is acceptable to the organisation and good for the customer too. Having this solution-orientation requires people to be good at listening and questioning to find out what would be the best solution. It can be surprising when you listen very carefully to what a customer is telling you and ask appropriately curious questions, what is actually on their mind as a resolution.  

Often, simply being heard and knowing that the feedback was valuable can be the appropriate action to take. Also, if the customer has an expectation of compensation or other redress, questioning and listening carefully will give you the information and understanding of the customer’s viewpoint you need to manage the situation effectively. Whatever the customer’s expectations, having a mindset of solution-orientation and understanding the customer’s thoughts will enable you to manage a complaint or feedback professionally. It gives you the information you need to clearly explain what is possible and what is not possible and still maintain a positive relationship with the customer who knows you have done all you can to find the best possible solution.  

Being open to alternative ways forward 

Sometimes customers may need to take action themselves and be directed to alternative ways forward. Having a solution-oriented mindset helps us to be open to these options. Empathising with the customer by appreciating their perspective while suggesting alternative ways forward for them to explore demonstrates this solution-focus. This is usually appreciated by customers who may have in the past had experiences of being at a dead end in other service situations.

I do make a difference 

Underpinning the culture of your organisation around complaints and feedback is ultimately whether people believe they make a difference. It is an important mindset characteristic to believe that what you do matters and that you play an important role, especially in ensuring your customers are satisfied with service given and are positive about their experiences. Looking into how complaints and feedback are managed and resolved provides valuable insight into how people believe they are making a difference to customers and the organisation. If they take feedback seriously, look for solutions, are determined to find a way forward, look to share positive feedback with others and find the value in feedback given, they are giving a good indication that they know what they do makes a difference. Having a team in place with this mindset and can-do focus is a powerful foundation for managing whatever comes their way, and the bedrock of providing excellent customer service.  

Click here to download MGI’s Checklist – How to meet customer expectations when handling feedback and complaints

Get in touch here to find out how MGI’s unique Mindset, Language & Actions Toolkit can equip your customer service teams with the confidence and capability to excel in handling whatever comes their way. 

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