Episode107: Complaints 101

Complaints to any organization are a gift, especially today since consumers have so many options. Are your teams handling these important interactions consistently well? Are you tracking the issues and outcomes to monitor trends and bigger issues?

Many organizations have implemented acronyms to help frontline workers deal with conflict when customers complain about their service or products. One common thread in these acronyms is the ability to listen, apologize, solve the issue, and thank the customer for bringing it to your attention. This simple methodology has proven effective over and over.

As VP of Consulting with The DiJulius Group with more than 25 years of experience in customer service, marketing, and sales, Dave Murray strives to make all participants feel comfortable–creating an ideal environment for idea generation and sharing. Dave is also an accomplished keynote speaker who can bring energy and passion to a room, all while connecting with audience members and delivering motivational and actionable content.

This episode is from Dave’s breakout session at the Customer Service Revolution Conference in Cleveland on November 7th, 2022. Learn some easy-to-implement standards and how to create a service recovery playbook as he shares the essential lessons he’s learned about customer service during his career.

Here are just a few takeaways:

  • What the term zero risk means, and how it applies from a customer service standpoint
  • Customers are 80% more likely to go somewhere else after a bad experience
  • Employees don’t have the training to deal with conflict
  • LATTE: Listen, Acknowledge, Take Action, Thank, and Encouragement
  • BLAST: Believe, Listen, Apologize, Solve, and Thank
  • LEAST: Listen, Empathize, Apologize, Solve, and Thank
  • GATE: Gather all information, Assess the situation, Thank and empathize, and Explain the solution
  • Leap to Action: Listen completely, Empathize, Apologize and clarify, Provide next steps, Thank, and Own it
  • How you can develop your own tool for frontline workers and design it for your needs
  • A-1 Care: A blameless apology, Own the situation, Clarify and assess, Action, Reassure and resolve, and End with a follow-up
  • FORD: Family, Occupation, Recreation, and Dreams
  • FORD is the information that’s most important to us as humans, and focusing on that allows you to build a relationship
  • Create your own acronym for handling difficult conversations
  • Don’t punish 98% of your customers for what 2% are trying to do
  • Complaints often come from a company’s own policies
  • Assume positive intent and train for consistency
  • Why it should be easy for customers to provide feedback
  • When the experience should override the policy, and the policies should become guidelines
  • How to solve the problems that aren’t your fault but harm the customer experience
  • Why you should be tracking your organization’s complaints and compliments

Resources mentioned:


The Customer Service Revolution Podcast

The 2023 Customer Service Revolution Conference

Customer Experience Executive Academy

Customer Experience Executive Online Academy

About The Author

John DiJulius

John R. DiJulius is a best-selling author, consultant, keynote speaker and President of The DiJulius Group, the leading Customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on Customer experience trends and best practices.