Sometimes you know that a client is upset before a complaint is made. Other times, a complaint catches you completely off guard. Sometimes the issue is described factually, and other times sheer emotion spills out. Some complaints are about big issues, others are smaller in scope. In some cases, the client complains to you directly. Other times, you read about their unhappiness on social media.
Regardless of the specifics, the question remains the same: how should you respond?
Typically, your goals would include satisfying the complaint and restoring your relationship with your client. Another goal may be to avoid a potential lawsuit if a client claims that you did not meet the standard of care. Keep those goals in mind as you respond.
If you are speaking to a client directly, give them uninterrupted time to share specifics about their complaint. Sometimes the act of respectfully listening to and documenting what is being said can significantly help calm a disgruntled client. This can be difficult to do when a client is angry, even if justifiably so, but the reality is that clients are allowed to be angry.
Listen for any hidden messages in what your client is saying. For example, a client may be focusing on an incident that was relatively minor. What you might be able to discern, however, is that they feel as though they do not get enough time and attention and that the specific incident is just a symptom of their…