Complaints management in your business


Businesses are paying more attention to complaints handling. This is because:

  • Good complaints processes can help businesses build their brand and improve their services (Sourdin, 2016)
  • Badly handled complaints can cost time and money
  • Poor complaint handling can mean that you end up in court or a tribunal
  • A bad experience, followed by bad complaints handling can damage your business and your reputation
  • Having good complaints processes also means that you will know earlier if there is a problem with your goods, services or people

This toolkit sets out some strategies and resources that can be used when you deal with complaints. Links in the documents take you to additional reading (for example about legal frameworks) and online resources.



Different organisations may have additional legal and industry requirements that set out how to deal with complaints. This toolkit does not override those requirements – it is intended to provide additional resources. The work has drawn from the New Australian Standard on Complaints and research about complaints and what works best.

Costs of complaints handling

Bad complaints handling can cost you:

  • Customer/client loyalty
  • The lifetime value of a customer or client
  • The public image on your business
  • Direct financial expenses relating to the complaint

On the other hand, good complaints handling can provide you with knowledge which can be used to:

  • Improve products and services
  • Build better relationships with your customers and clients
  • Improve your bottom line

Figure 1.1 Maximising customer satisfaction and loyalty

(Adapted from Dee 2011 and Technical Assistance Research Program)

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