Complaint handling

Categories: BusinessMarketing

Fair Trading Factsheet

Complaints handling
November 2007

Need more
Call Consumer Affairs Victoria
on 1300 55 81 81.

Quick tip

Successful businesses work hard to keep their customers satisfied. Although prevention is better than cure, it is almost inevitable that at some stage you will receive a customer complaint. Don’t presume a customer complaint is a negative experience because, if handled well, it can be a valuable
learning tool.

An effective complaints handling system needs someone in the company to drive it and take ultimate responsibility.

Benefits for your business

How to do it

An effective complaints handling
system is essential to your business.
Your business can benefit in several

Handle complaints effectively by:

• improved product quality and
service delivery
• fewer mistakes and less time spent fixing them
• better understanding of customers’ needs
• greater customer loyalty
• more customers through word of
mouth advertising from satisfied

• having a policy of welcoming
customer complaints
• setting up a system to handle
complaints effectively
• training your staff to handle
complaints well
• dealing with the complaints you
receive immediately
• ensuring the process for making complaints is easy for your
• regularly reviewing your complaints record.

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• less time and money spent attracting customers
• improved business reputation
• a healthier bottom line.
Remember you could be pushing profits out of the door if you do not have an effective complaints handling system.

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© Copyright State of Victoria 2008
1300 55 81 81

Fair Trading Factsheet

Quick tip
Implement a company policy that contact is to be made with the customer within 48 hours of the initial

Set up a system to handle complaints effectively

Train your staff to handle complaints constructively

An effective complaints handling system needs someone in the company to drive it and take ultimate responsibility. This is a person who has the best interest of both the customer and the company at heart, and the interpersonal and managerial skills to ensure the system is performing well.

Make sure all staff understand the
complaints handling policy, why
it was introduced, how it will work
and the benefits for your business.

The complaints officer needs
to ensure that:
• there is adequate information
available to the public about how
to address any problems with your
business, especially
at the point of sale
• front line staff are aware of:
• the complaints handling policy

Encourage and reward your staff for
dealing with disgruntled customers
and handling their complaints well.

Deal with the complaints you receive immediately Implement a company policy that contact is to be made with the customer within 48 hours of the initial complaint. This will ensure that the customer knows the complaint is being processed. Although the issue may not be resolved, the customer will be aware that it is being addressed.

• their authority to settle complaints
• when and to whom they need to refer complaints
• there is a process to handle the more difficult and complex cases
• complaints are reviewed regularly to identify any ongoing issues
• reports are made to senior management about complaints.

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© Copyright State of Victoria 2008
1300 55 81 81

Fair Trading Factsheet
Date of Issue: November 2007

Ensure the process for making complaints is easy for your customers
Some suggestions are:
• Have a desk within your store where people can take their enquiries or complaints.
• Arrange a dedicated phone line for complaints or problems.
• Consider using a simple sign at your point of sale, or a paragraph on company invoices, such as ‘Your custom is important to us.
If you are not satisfied, please let
us know’.
• Include a customer feedback option on your website.

Review your complaints
Regular reviews of complaints will
give you a good indication of how
and where your business could
• Use a standard form to record the
details of complaints (see following
page for example).
• Review complaints monthly
or quarterly to establish whether
there are any trends,
or obvious things you could
change or improve.
• Use complaint records to check
how well and how quickly your
staff handle complaints.

More information
Information on fair trading is available from:
Consumer Affairs Victoria
Victorian Consumer &
Business Centre
113 Exhibition Street
Melbourne 3000
Telephone 1300 55 81 81
Regional Offices
Consumer Affairs Victoria also has
regional offices located in Ballarat,
Bendigo, Geelong, Morwell,
Mildura, Wangaratta and
Warrnambool together with a
mobile outreach service that
regularly visits rural communities.
To find details on the office or
mobile service nearest you, ring
1300 55 81 81 or go to the
Consumer Affairs Victoria website
and click on the Contact Us link.

Because this publication avoids the use of legal language, information about the law may have been summarised or expressed in general statements. This information should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional legal advice or reference to the actual legislation.

Authorised by the Victorian Government 121 Exhibition Street Melbourne Victoria 3000. F1-01-02

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© Copyright State of Victoria 2008
1300 55 81 81

Customer Complaint Form
1. Customer details
Title (Mr, Mrs, etc) Family name (surname)

Given names

Street address


Home telephone number

Business telephone number


Mobile telephone number

Email address (if applicable)

2. Details of other person or supplier involved in this complaint Name

Street address


Home telephone number

Business telephone number


Mobile telephone number

Email address (if applicable)

3. Details of goods or services supplied to the customer
Date of purchase or service


Description of the goods or service including make, model, type of service, purchase method, etc.

4. Details of what the customer complaint is

Office use only
Complaint received by

Date received

Action taken or required
Date action completed



In person


In writing

Cite this page

Complaint handling. (2016, Apr 22). Retrieved from

Complaint handling

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