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Customer disputes

Handling customer complaints

1. Deal with the complaint immediately
Get to the heart of the matter quickly and you’re more likely to satisfy the customer. Ignoring it will not solve the problem.

2. Stay calm
The customer must be dissatisfied for some reason, even if you think they are wrong. The matter will only get worse if you respond aggressively.

3. Identify the problem
Listen to what the customer says and make sure you understand. Ask what they expect you to do and write it down with as much detail as possible.

4. Decide what can be done
Even if you believe the complaint is unjustified, it may be worthwhile trying to make the customer happy to keep their business. All it may require is a simple explanation. Sometimes it is worth ‘walking the extra mile’ and doing more than you feel you need or are obliged to do for the customer.

If necessary, arrange a second opinion to confirm your view. In some instances this second opinion may show things you were not aware of.

5. Keep records
Writing everything down reduces the chance of misunderstanding. Many contractual disputes arise because nothing is in writing or the details are ambiguous.

6. Fix the problem
Tell the customer what solution you can offer and make sure they understand. If the customer accepts this, act straight away to resolve the matter quickly and efficiently.

Don’t be afraid of complaints. For each customer whose complaint you handle well, most will become loyal and recommend you to other potential customers.

Customer complaints – dos and don’ts

  • DO try to understand your customer’s point of view
  • DO record complaints, both verbal and written
  • DO what you have agreed to
  • DO act promptly
  • DO use complaints positively to avoid a repeat of the problem in the future
  • DON’T avoid or ignore the complaint
  • DON’T make unrealistic promises
  • DON’T rely on verbal commitments

Who makes the complaint?

The property owner makes the complaint. In the case of common property defects, the Body Corporate makes the complaint.

QBCC’s role in complaints

Once a defective work complaint is lodged QBCC may provide a dispute resolution service between licensees and homeowners.

Further information

QBCC's Dispute Resolution process
Building Disputes and How to Avoid Them

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)
Last updated
11/03/2014 3:41 PM

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