How to best handle complaints

All Which? Trusted Traders are obliged to try to rectify works that are not up to scratch

Starting a job on the right footing always helps.It’s a good idea to give customers a copy of your terms and conditions before the start of any job, so they know what to expect from you.

Keeping the channels of communication open during a project can often prevent problems turning into complaints. Try to deal with your customer directly – either face to face or over the phone.

Dealing with complaints

If you receive a written complaint – via email or letter – what is the best way to deal with it?

– Address the issue as soon as possible. If your customer is unhappy, further delay will only increase their irritation.

– Contact your customer and try to arrange a meeting to discuss the issue and agree a resolution. Encourage your customer to be as specific as possible about the exact nature of the complaint and how they want you to resolve it. In turn, you need to be as specific as possible about what you will do to address it, including, if required, what remedial work will take place, when and what will be involved. All this needs to be put in writing.

– Remain polite and professional at all times. Customers may find it awkward to raise complaints and they rely on you to make the process run smoothly. Ensure they understand your complaints procedure, what happens next and the timelines involved.

– Keep written records. Make a written note of the complaint in a complaints log, then acknowledge the complaint to your customer in writing and offer formal response and, where possible, agree a course of action to resolve the problem.

– Listen to what your customer is saying. Sometimes the source of their complaint will be obvious, sometimes they may have trouble articulating exactly what they need from you and you will need to help them reach a resolution. Remember, as a member of the CIPHE you already commit to a Code of Professional Standards. If you are genuinely unable to resolve an issue with a customer you can always refer them to us. A complaint can be independently assessed by CIPHE technical experts and a ruling on the complaint can be made. See

Find out more

The Which? Trusted Trader logo is one more way of telling customers they can be confident of receiving a good service from a reputable business.

To find out more about how an endorsement from Which? can benefit you as a CIPHE member, call 0117 4566032 or visit

This article first appeared in the March/April 2019 issue of P&H Engineering, the magazine for members of the CIPHE. Find out how to join here.

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