Dealing with complaints
Updated: Apr 14
So has anyone ever had a good old conversation with other practitioners, therapists, business owners and the chat is all about how amazing there results are, they have only the best products, best technology, best reviews, best education, best qualifications, most clientele etc etc etc but avoids the part where things go wrong, clients complain and we have accidents.
For starters we are only human and we are not going to please every body. Some people we just do not simply connect with, some clients have un realistic expectations, some clients do not listen to home care before or after treatment, some people are just out to get others, some people want something for nothing, some times we under estimate treatment abilities, some times our heads are not in the right place every single day, some people compare rather than appreciating the individual person or business, some times we just make normal human mistakes which can either be brushed under the carpet or can be escalated...
Truth is, we are all going to get complaints. If it was regular, on going complaints then yes ok we would need to re evaluate the situation but when these complaints come from being human then we must learn, grow and move on.
When your working in an industry where you deal with customer satisfaction, expectations , tools, products and equipment... at least one point in your career, something is going to happen.
So how do you deal with this? Well hopefully we are dealing with someone who understands life and allows you to deal with the situation to offer a solution/outcome which you are both happy with.
If you are like how I once was, when I got a complaint my heart would sink to the bottom of my stomach. This is un needed stress on the body. As a business owner it is normal to feel that instant heart sink as this is your business and your reputation. Always try and remember that no matter how intense the situation is at the time, most complaints tend to calm within time. In this situation, you must do what you can to keep everything calm, deal with the situation as best as you can and know that you can sleep at night knowing that you tried your best to deal with this correctly.
My moto that I train all my students and staff is 'The client is always right but you are never wrong.' When you have a complaint, some people will try to belittle you or even try and argue. Yes we must sympathise with the client and do all we can to resolve a situation BUT we are the professionals and if we have done everything we can to stick with protocals, guide lines, our knowledge, then unfortunately these things happen and we must educate the customer on this and why the problem/complaint may have occurred. Work with the customer and be productive in the situation.
Report the complaint, keep it on file, take pictures..This is great for insurance purposes as well as you being professional and showing your concerns.
Keep calm and sympathetic.
BE REAL WITH THE CLIENT, do not over sell. If anything, undersell! The more we provide realistic expectations and talk through the outcomes with the client, the more they will gain your trust. Many people complaint if they go into a state of panic mode due to somthing happening unexpectedly. If we go through consultations, consents, gain signiatures from the client, it is allowing them to understand potential side effects. We are dealing with peoples bodies and every body responds differently.
Try and get the client to come in and have a quiet word with you (and then follow up with sending them an email on what has been discussed to keep everything on file). Many complaints which can be un ethical are normal sent behind the screen, this makes it a bad way of communication. 1. It makes it harder to work with each other to fix a situation. 2.If the client is not willing to come in then they may be wanting money back/something for nothing. 3. You cannot show emotion behind the writing which means that it is easier for the customer or yourself to get the wrong end of the situation.
Learn from your mistakes.... This is the most important point. If this complaint was from something that you have done or it was thrown at you due to the personality wants/needs of the client then you must learn from it to ensure it does not happen again and use this to educate you on how you deal with specific situations, treatments, people next time.
Complaints can be very sickening some times but we only grow into better, stronger and more knowledgeable people when we get knocked down and when things go wrong.
It educates us on tools, products, equipment, personalities, different bodies, reactions and grows us into the professionals that we are.
What makes you a good practitioner is not what happens when it all goes right, but how you deal with it when it goes wrong.