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Best Practices for Handling Customer Complaints

One of many reasons why quickly and effectively responding to customer complaints is important? Research shows that dissatisfied customers are up to twice more likely to tell people about their customer service experience than are people who were happy with your service.

Meanwhile, customers will reward you for quickly solving their problems.

In fact, a speedy resolution of a complaint can actually increase customer loyalty by 25 percent, according to i-Sight’s “Best Practices in Handling Customer Complaints” whitepaper.

The benefits of a smooth and streamlined process for handling customer complaints go even further. Staffing a call center and managing emails costs money; if your employees resolve issues faster, you’ll increase productivity and reduce staffing costs.

A major reason why customers get angry is that they feel like no one has listened to their complaint or processed it in a reasonable amount of time. All too often, this results from a breakdown in the customer complaints handling process.

Nintex Workflow and Nintex Forms automate and streamline this process, greatly reducing the number of errors and delays in your customer service department.

Below are some suggestions and best practices for improving your company’s customer complaints process so you can benefit from happier customers.

A Comprehensive Attitude Toward Customer Complaints

Ensuring that your business takes an effective approach to managing customer complaints is key. But effectively handling customer complaints also means adopting the right attitude.

General guidelines, such as those offered by Commonwealth Ombudsman, highlight various things you can do across your organization that contribute to improving the process.

1.  Culture

It’s wise to view customer complaints positively. After all, they’ll help you understand if there are common mistakes your company is making and help you to resolve them. Value complaints as a way of strengthening your offering and improving public relations.

Let your company know that complaints drive change and take a proactive approach to resolving them.

2.  Principles

Focus on key principles, including fairness, accessibility, responsiveness and efficiency. There’s no room for rudeness to your customers, yet it should also be clear that your company will not tolerate abuse or mistreatment of its staff.

3.  People

Hire intelligent, professional and well-trained people to handle customer complaints. Whether this is their full-time job or one of their roles, people should understand the company’s codes of conduct and behave correctly.

4.  Process

Every organization will have its own exact steps for handling customer complaints.

Nevertheless, they should all, at a minimum, incorporate acknowledgment, assessment, planning, investigation, response, review, consideration of systemic issues and follow-up. Because if your customer doesn’t know what you’re doing, you’re not doing anything.

5.  Analysis

Information about customer complaints should be continuously examined to help your company review and improve.

The Nintex platform, including Nintex Analytics, can help your organization streamline your process, analyze the data, capture bottlenecks and illuminate trends.

Using Automation to Manage Complaints

In the end, the way your company handles customer complaints can considerably impact your reputation. An efficient, professional and helpful experience will make customers happy and more loyal, according to i-Sight’s whitepaper.

By taking the time to create an efficient customer complaints workflow that incorporates forms, you’ll gain a whole range of advantages down the line, such as reduced call center costs, improved products and enthusiastic customer evangelists.

Wondering how this process can work?

Wataniya Mobile struggled with manual processes before automating them and saving $300,000 a year. One of those processes was handling customer complaints. Customer care agents use Nintex Forms to open a new case when a customer has a billing concern.

Via Nintex Workflow, the completed form automatically enters the billing system and alerts a customer service employee about the customer’s concern. The employee reviews the account and can act. Automating this process has made it easier to track the total number of complaints and see patterns in billing errors.

Nintex Best Practices

As a starting point, let’s assume that your organization has SharePoint, but you’ll need to create a list for customer complaints.

When customers email, call or write you, their complaint will be registered in this list, and will include a minimum of four columns – customer name, contact details, action and current status of the complaint (your own procedure could include a lot more).

I’ll also presume there will be one person who is a complaints manager and who “owns” the list, which can be converted in the future to a knowledge base of FAQ.

Below are three best practices when handling customer complaints: 

1.   Tailor your complaint-gathering form to your employees

With Nintex Forms, it’s easy to develop forms that have the look and feel, fields and workflow integration that work best for the employees completing them.

Integrate your form with Nintex Workflow to expand the power of your forms even more and align your forms with your processes.

 2.  Build follow-up into your complaint handling process

You don’t want customers to feel like their complaint enters a void where it floats indefinitely. Making certain that customers feel heard is a huge part of resolving customer complaints.

With a workflow, you can set up escalation if the person assigned the complaint doesn’t respond to it within a set timeframe.

3.  Create an effective workflow

Your form and workflow will be unique to your company but there are a few Nintex Workflow features that can help improve your process.

  • Send Email action:
    Send an email to the customer acknowledging the receipt of the complaint. Use the Lookup option to automatically pull the customer email from the list, which can be populated from your external system. This action also enables you to communicate complaint progress and ultimate resolution with the customer.
  • Update List Item action:
    Update the current list item. Use the Send Email action again to update the complaints manager – whomever initially logged the complaint – about the status.
  • Assign a Task action:
    Send task to a colleague who will act as the customer champion who will take responsibility for resolving the complaint. Leverage Nintex integration functionality to automatically assign the most appropriate person based on availability, skillset or other factors.
  • Conditional Branch action:
    Once the customer champion has contacted the customer, hopefully that person will find a solution and go down the “Yes” branch. They then only need to update the list again to say the problem has been resolved. If that person can’t resolve the issue, he or she can go down the “No” branch and alert relevant stakeholders or even schedule a meeting by adding a calendar item function.


This list provides you with an idea of how a customer complaints workflow can work to automate the process. Naturally, every business is different, and some of the steps above will vary from one company to another. However, this basic logic can be applied in most scenarios, and will provide a good start for automating your customer complaints procedure.

Read Improve Customer Service with Document Generation for more ways to improve your customer processes.


Click here to try the entire Nintex Workflow Platform free for 30 days!



Sean Fiene

Nintex Technical Enablement Manager Sean Fiene is a web developer, Nintex Forms specialist, and lover of foods. With over 9 years' experience in SharePoint and Nintex technologies, he's passionate about using workflow automation, forms, and mobile solutions to drive greater productivity and success across industries and business scenarios.

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