Running a business

How to handle customer complaints

A complaint is a chance to turn an unhappy customer into a loyal customer. Use the information on this page to help you set up a process that helps you and your staff calmly work through most complaints.

Set up a process for handling complaints

  1. Work out the key steps you need to take when handling a customer’s complaint by referring to the types of complaints your:
    • industry usually receives
    • business has already received.
  2. Think about what to do when things happen that are out of your control such as:
    • we're short-staffed
    • the customer is still angry after we've apologised
    • the computer 'goes down'.
  3. Check that your plan treats customers fairly under Australian Consumer Law.

Put it in writing

Formalise your process by writing a customer complaints policy. You should also:

  • train staff and provide step by step instructions for dealing with complaints
  • schedule a regular review of the process and update it based on the findings.

Use the Small Business Complaints Toolkit to help you develop your policy and instructions for staff.  

Consumer and Business Services

The customer can contact Consumer and Business Services (CBS) if they feel they have been treated unfairly. If their request for assistance is accepted, CBS will contact you to:

  • gather information and record all the facts
  • provide information to both parties
  • offer advice.

Most problems can be solved through these discussions.

Contact Consumer and Business Services


In person

91 Grenfell Street


GPO Box 1719
Adelaide SA 5001

Related information

Other websites

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Page last updated 31 January 2017

Provided by:
Attorney-General's Department
Last Updated:
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