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Petzrush- complaint- complaints-compliments


A Strategic View of Changing Customer Complaints Into Customer Compliments


When someone complains about their experience with your business, how do you view those complaints?

How do you handle complaints?

Do you encourage people to complain if they are not satisfied with your product or service?

Do you have any type of procedure to handle complaints?

Do you have any idea of the value of complaints?

Yes, I know that I just asked you many questions and you are probably saying what Ronald Reagan became accustomed to saying, "There you go again." Well, in coaching, questions lead to answers and so there are many questions needed to find answers. And there are answers to the above questions that I believe require a strategic thinking view. Complaint handling is a strategic tool and all businesses and organizations need to make a commitment to address complaints in a professional manner. Unfortunately, in today's world, PETZRUSH thinks that handling complaints is very misunderstood and undervalued in business.


Did you know that 70% of dissatisfied customers will return if their complaint is resolved favorably?

Did you know that 95% of dissatisfied customers will return if you resolve their complaint on the spot?

Complaining customers are really a treasure. That means there is great value in resolving complaints. Remember, it takes six (6) times more effort to attract new customers than to retain existing customers.

Looking at turning complaints into compliments, PETZRUSH suggests a strategic thinking approach is needed. So, with this mindset, PETZRUSH thinks that companies should develop a short list of action items that we believe can turn your complaints into compliments. These action items may be:


Action #1: Appreciate the fact that they have brought a complaint to you. You should thank them and then be calm and very attentive as they share their complaint.

Action #2: Acknowledge the feelings of the person with the complaint, but DO NOT tell them you know how they feel. This is a major error and could cause a rapid disengagement with the customer. Make sure you allow them enough time to say what they want to say about their complaint.

Action #3: Provide an individual to listen to the complaint. Make this person accessible to the customer and have that person respond immediately to begin the process of addressing the complaint.

Action #4: Exhibit honesty and sincerity at all times with the customer. An apology is appropriate to acknowledge your being sorry that the customer had a negative experience. It is critical to give the customer your undivided attention and to maintain a calm demeanor and remain non-confrontational.

Action #5: Ask the customer about solutions. It is a very effective tactic to ask very open-ended questions to help identify potential solutions to the problem in the complaint. For example, you could ask the customer, "What would make you feel better about this?" Or "What would you like to see happen in response to your complaint?" This enables you to potentially form an alliance with the customer to solve the problem. You can create an atmosphere of establishing the attitude that you and the customer are in this together to find a solution.

Action #6: Be a "person of your word." You must do what you say you will do.
Make promises you can keep and make sure you keep them.

Action #7: Follow Up with your customer. This is a wonderful opportunity for increased contacts with your customer. Send them a note and let them know you appreciate their business, that they shared their complaint and that this experience will enable your company to improve.


These are very practical and useful actions that  PETZRUSH suggests to turn complaints into compliments. It is very important to remember that an unresolved complaint is very costly and very damaging to your company. Swift, effective and caring complaint resolution is a very effective strategic tool for your business. And probably the most important thing to remember is that people, not companies, resolve complaints.



See below an example of a report related to how to turn complaints into compliments



The company was experiencing an increase in the number of customer complaints and an increase in the cost of processing them and we were hired to analyze the current situation and develop recommendations to increase the effectiveness of the process of administering and resolving the complaints.

Identify Customer Requirements

A consultant was assigned to the design of customer service systems and complaint processes, and who had done extensive work in QFD (Quality Function Deployment), which is a methodology that analyzes the needs of the customer and integrates them with the company processes to ensure the needs are met.


The first task was to identify what the customers' requirements were for complaint handling and how well customers felt their complaints were resolved. This involved conducting interviews with customers who had filed a recent complaint.Customers were asked to talk about their experience with the complaint handling process.

The purpose of this exercise was to:

determine positive and negative incidents in the complaint handling process

determine important information regarding the customer's feelings about the resolution of his/her complaint

identity the main reasons for deficiencies in the process

develop suggestions on how to improve the system.

Review Existing Complaint Process

The review of the process started` by developing a complaint management questionnaire that was administered to all complaint handlers. This provided a view of the complaint handling process across all departments of the company and at the same time it identified areas for improvement.
An operations study was performed on the current complaint handling process.


A Service plan was developed that detailed the complete current process for a customer reporting a complaint to the company. A Serviceplan shows a cross sectional view of what is happening to all participants of the process at each step. This includes
the customer, front line personnel,
support personnel,
other departments, and
outside regulatory agencies.

With the Service plan it is easy to see escalation points and interfaces to other personnel and departments. This is critical information to understand when streamlining a process.

Other aspects of the process were analyzed, such as where do the customers call first to report a complaint, how do they find the number to call, and how many calls did they have to make before the complaint was resolved.

Analysis of Complaint Data

A complete analysis of complaint data for the past four years was conducted. Starting at the beginning of this process, a review was conducted of what information was being captured from the interaction between the complaint handler and the customer.

The review continued by investigating how the complaint data itself was captured and logged into a complaint database.We also looked at what types of reports were generated from complaint data and the frequency of distribution.

We also analyzed the claims data, searching for potential causes for the claims and the trend and frequency of claims. The data revealed certain tendencies that indicate that a new method for the administration of claims would have positive effects.


Aa synthesis was developed of the analysis, investigations, and review of the activities associated with the claims process in the holding company.
Based on this, several recommendations emerged which were customized to the specific needs of each of the subsidiaries.


The recommendations included:

establish a Centralized Center

negotiate with the regulatory agencies in various states so they can direct the customers with complaints to the Center

establish stronger links with the service recovery process and the Center

establish diagnostic activities to prevent future complaints

implement prevention planning

establish targets for complaint reductions

The new system for administration and resolution of complaints has resulted in:

more effective and timely resolution of customers' complaints

focus on prevention and avoidance of recurring problems

integration of the different work units involved in the claims process

reduction of costs associated with the handling of claims

increased customer satisfaction


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