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Customer complaints are good for your business. Here’s why!

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Author: Uthaman Bakthikrishnan

Most salespeople would have had situations where their prospects told:

  • I do not see how this product or service benefits me
  • I have never heard of your company
  • This is too expensive
  • We do not have the budget for this product or service right now
  • I need to check with my team first

All of these are objections of some form.

What do you do here?

You always have the option of dismissing these objections and moving on to other clients than addressing them. But is that the right way to do things?

A good sales guy would think of a sales objection as an indication that a specific reason prevents a buyer from purchasing a product or service from you. Sales experts would look at objections as opportunities to learn more about the prospect and find specific methods to address their reservations.

Now, how do you handle your customer complaints?

You again have two options.

The first is to dismiss or vociferously defend your position against the complaint.

The second one is to look at those complaints as opportunities and learn key insights to serve your customers better.

Let me give you an example.

Ask Mercedes – The end of the car manual as we know it.

When customers of Mercedes-Benz complained to service techs that their owner’s manual took up too much space in the trunk, the company created an app that not only included the contents of the manual but contained personalized information about the owner’s vehicle plus reminders of their subsequent maintenance.

Mercedes then created a virtual assistant called ‘Ask Mercedes.’ It is a conversational chatbot that helps drivers get immediate responses to questions about their cars. It leaves no questions unanswered about the functionalities of these vehicles.

It is designed not only to help Mercedes owners but also users of car-sharing or rental services. Mercedes has plans to embed this AI assistant into the vehicle itself.

Look at this example from Virgin.

Virgin Atlantic Airlines – using negative feedback to bond with the customers

Richard Branson says that a complaint is a chance to turn a customer into a lifelong friend.

In a famous episode, a customer in first class had what sounds like a dreadful Indian-themed meal on a flight. The letter he wrote to Branson was funny and disturbing.

The passenger described one item as a “miscellaneous central cuboid of beige matter.”

Look at how Branson responded. Branson invited the passenger to help Virgin overhaul its menu. He later asked the passenger to be on the airline’s culinary council board.

Here goes my favorite from Dominos Pizza.

Dominos – your pizza tastes like cardboard

Dominos was often the butt of jokes, with people complaining that their pizza tasted like cardboard.

The company listened to its unhappy customers and responded by changing its pizza recipe. They encouraged customers and food bloggers to try their new pizza and leave feedback through social media.

This transparency and willingness to take criticism and do something about it generated goodwill, and people gave it a second shot.


A complaint is a blessing in disguise. If you can win over your upset customers, your business success will know no bounds.

So, the next time you have an unhappy customer, you can warmly say, “We are here to help you,” while figuring out how to use that learning to provide a better customer experience.


About the Author: Uthaman Bakthikrishnan


Uthaman believes in the power of creation - it gives him a high to grow something from scratch and make it sustainable. Uthaman is the Executive Vice President and helps set the strategic direction and roadmap for ClearTouch, a pioneering provider of a cloud-based call center platform for enterprises, contact centers, BPOs, and financial services companies in India.