In business, customer complaints should always be taken seriously. They should also be dealt in a prompt and effective manner. Complaints that are ignored or aren’t dealt with properly can escalate, jeopardizing the public’s opinion of you and causing you to lose customers. This is why it’s important to stay up to date with everything your customers are saying.

Virtually all customer complaints can be placed into five major general categories. Learning what these complaint categories are should help you see why no complaint should be ignored. Being able to categorize your complaints should also help you deal with them more effectively.

Complaints About Marketing Practices

Complaints in this category usually encompass issues with failure to deliver on commercial promises, especially those made through promotional, advertising campaigns. For example, not delivering on free, BOGO, discount or sale offers. If you receive these types of complaints, then you should definitely check in with your marketing department to make sure everyone’s on the same page. Failing to pay attention to these issues can cause you to lose prospective customers, require major business restructuring and compromise your marketing campaigns.

Complaints About Your Company

Complaints about your company, as opposed to common customer complaints about your products and services, are what make up this category. These are usually complaints that come from inside the company, but that can negatively affect your company’s performance and service delivery. This will in turn lead to customer complaints. Inadequacy in employee training, facilities, tools, equipment, financing in certain departments, or human resource services can lead to internal complaints.

Negligence in certain departments could lead to customer complaints that indirectly point to deficiencies and flaws. For instance, negligence in policies and practices, standard operating procedures, protocols, or overall business structure can lower internal morale. If you receive complaints from employees or customers that are related to your company service, you should carefully assess your day-to-day business operations and overall plan.

Complaints About Performance and Operations

This category includes complaints about shortcomings or defects in your products or services. Product and service complaints are most commonly due to performance or operational malfunctions. These malfunctions result in defective or uneven value creation. If you receive complaints about defective products or poor service, you should check your value creation chain. A problem in the value creation chain will only produce persistent defective products and poor service if it’s not properly addressed.

Complaints That are False or Illegitimate

Complaints that are false or illegitimate can seriously affect your business and its reputation. Thus, ignoring these types of complaints can be dangerous. When a customer makes a false or illegitimate complaint you should acknowledge their complaint while addressing its illegitimacy. You must handle these types of complaints and customers with the utmost care, as losing a customer this way could be costly to your reputation and finances. In fact, it’s at least 15 times more expensive to acquire a customer than to retain one.

Complaints About Frontline Staff and Customer Touch Points

Frontline staff are the employees that deal with customers directly on a daily basis. Customer perception and trust of your brand depends on the behavior and attitude of your frontline staff. Insufficient customer service and unprofessional behavior demonstrated by frontline staff can severely damage your business’ reputation. If you have drivers in branded vehicles sharing the roads with your potential customers, make sure they drive safely and courteously. Likewise, if you have representatives walking around in branded gear, make sure they know to conduct themselves professionally around others.

For service providers, customer touch point complaints are of the most utmost importance. They’re much more important than complaints about products. Employee performance will increase and retain trust in your brand and increase your brand’s value. Paying attention to complaints about frontline staff and customer touch points will improve their performance and behavior as well as promote a positive perception of your brand.


Ignoring customer complaints can create more issues than you’re able to handle. Besides that, paying attention to these small issues can possibly help you improve your business exponentially. They can also make you aware of issues you can’t see from your point of view. All in all, it’s counterproductive not to pay attention to and address customer complaints. In the end, they’ll have their issues addressed and you’ll increase customer satisfaction, trust in your brand, and so much more.