Complaint Management

People working in Customer Service are sometimes faced with disappointed customers and they must choose the appropriate strategy by following a four-step approach called CASE and use phrases such as the following:

  • 1. Confirm

    The first step to handle a complaint is by showing your customers that you have understood their situation and the issues that have caused them anger or dissatisfaction. Bear in mind that we still need to express an apology although the fault may not lie with us.

  • 2. Ask

    Merely confirming that you understand their condition doesn’t solve their problems. In order to offer a solution, you need to discover a few details of the problem and what the customers have already tried to do to solve it.


    Recommended phrases:

    Could you tell me exactly which item was damaged?

    May I ask if you’ve tried to use the tracking facility on our website?

  • 3. Serve

    Once you have fully investigated the matter and gathered some details, you can now provide an alternative service that would best meet their needs. Make sure the suggested solution can be done quickly and easily.


    Recommended phrases:

    You’ll get the missing shipment within 24 hours.

       I’ll get back to you first thing tomorrow morning.

  • 4. Confirm

    Confirm to your customers that some actions will be executed. If necessary, you repeat your plan of action and get an agreement with your customers.


    Recommended phrases:

    I’ll see to it immediately and personally make sure you get compensation.

    Are we agreed that you’ll fax me a copy of the invoice and I’ll send you the missing items today?

As previously mentioned, even though the error was not the fault of your company, offering apologies is still a crucial aspect of handling an unhappy customer. A sincere apology helps calm down their anger, make a better customer review, and retain their loyalty but make sure to consider the sincerity of the apology. Moreover, a careful choice of words is also important as it affects the outcome.

The following phrases should be avoided because they connote that your company is not willing to take responsibility:

I am sorry you feel that way.
I am sorry if you are offended.
Mistakes were made.
It is unfortunate that things turned out this way.


The samples below should be used instead:
Please accept my apologies for…
Please be assured that we are doing everything…
I (very much) regret the inconvenience we have caused.


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