What to do when a client complains

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It happens. Someone is unhappy about something. Often, that means that other clients are unhappy about the same issue, they’re just not telling you.

They just leave. Or don’t hire you again.

But you want your clients to tell you about their complaints. Why?

  • So you can fix the problem and avoid giving other clients the same bad experience.
  • So you can keep unhappy clients from telling the world about their bad experience with you on social media, et. al.
  • So you can assess weaknesses in your systems and improve them.
  • So you can build a reputation for listening to your clients and caring about them enough to respond to their needs and concerns.

Getting a complaint from a client also gives you the opportunity to turn that client into a fan.

Studies show that many of the most loyal clients (and sources of referrals) come from clients who previously had a complaint that the attorney addressed to their satisfaction.

So, you want clients to come to you if they have an issue with anything. Encourage them to do that. Provide forms they can fill out. Let them respond anonymously if they prefer.

And, when you get a complaint:

  1. Listen to it; don’t argue or become defensive.
  2. Thank the client for calling the problem to your attention.
  3. Fix it.
  4. Apologize and promise it won’t happen again.
  5. Tell them what you will do/have done to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
  6. Consider offering something extra to “make it up to them”
  7. Thank them again for telling you and giving you the opportunity to make things right.
  8. Contact them again and make sure everything is okay.

You don’t have to hire expensive consultants to advise you on improving client relations. Your clients will tell you everything you need to know.

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