If you’ve been around for any length of time, you’ve seen your fair share of customer complaints. From online reviews for restaurants to product complaints on Facebook, customers are making their voices heard no matter the platform. Ignoring their complaints is detrimental to your success, so how do you prepare for it?

The answer is easier than you think. Do your homework and create a response matrix. A response matrix is a list of instructions that inform you and your staff how to handle customer complaints in an effective manner.

In order to create one, you’ll have to know what your customers will most likely complain about. According to a study conducted by Genesys Global Surveys, poor customer service is the biggest reason for lodging complaints. In the survey, the number one factor in poor customer service was how poorly they were treated. The second one was a failure to solve a problem in a timely manner.

For every customer who complains, there are at least twenty-six who remain silent. Unhappy customers won’t return unless you give them a good reason to do so. Is your customer service streamlined for customers, or will they be jumping through hoops to reach a real person if there’s a complaint? Do you respond to complaints? If so, do you do it in a timely manner? We go more in depth on responding to negative reviews HERE. The way you respond to a customer complaint through your service center is imperative to the customer’s feelings about your company. A quality email response to a complaint is just as important as a timely one.

Note that some surveys include employee behavior among poor customer service. For those that didn’t, rudeness and lack of interest in helping the customer were second only to poor customer service. The takeaway from this is that the way you treat your customers will directly affect your bottom line.

Every customer wants to feel like they matter to your business. A poor customer service experience will spread twice as fast as a great experience. This is true in both word-of-mouth and online reviews.

What complaints have you faced in your business? How did you work to solve them? Let us know in comments.