Business Practices | | Published April 05, 2012

The Life of a Complaint

They have a strange and eventful life. From the moment they are sprung into existence, they experience a brief but turbulent life before meeting their end. They can vanish quickly and completely or linger around a while in a weakened state, all of which is entirely dependent on outside factors.

It may sound like we’re narrating a National Geographic special, but we’re really talking about the life of a complaint! You may not realize it, but when your customers are upset, they pop these little guys into the world. It then becomes your job and responsibility to care for them so they receive the proper treatment.


Complaints can be likened to little cloud creatures – they are born into existence by and float around the person who initially has them. They are then transferred along the line when reported to a customer service representative or help desk until the issue is eventually resolved and put to rest. When your customers have an issue, all they want to do is to float that little cloud in your direction so YOU can send it away.

But the life of a complaint continues to amuse. As soon as it’s born, it basically wants to vanish. Who wants to keep a complaint around? It’s stressful, for you, for the complainer, and for the little creature this ordeal spawned. So you do your best and work your hardest to aid it on its quest to leave.

You do so by taking the little guy in and figuring out what it wants. Remember that every complaint is different: they all have diverse lives and needs. One complaint creature could need an entirely new product, where another just really wanted a kind word from somebody that day. Invest some time into researching the needs of each one, as they can be quite unique.

Moving On…

Fortunately, no complaint can live forever. Even the most hardy and stubborn of complaints eventually dissipate and move on.

What they can do, however, is leave traces about even after they have passed on. Sometimes it gets on your product, your help desk team, or even on your company’s name. These traces can be seen by others and leave a small smudge that may cause them to think twice about doing business with you.

So it’s best to deal with the complaint creature the best you can while it’s still early on, manageable and easy to handle. Lay it to rest the best way you know how – let the customer (and their little pet) know that everything will be fine and they have nothing to worry about. Find a common ground and get it all taken care of and you should have nothing to worry about.

If all goes to plan, the complaint creature’s life span will be very short, and it can enjoy a nice little rest next to all the others that have come passing through your help desk be it via phone or email. Take into account, these little guys are a way to improve your business, so roll out the red carpet and hold them in high regard when they come waltzing in!