2. 1. If you take it, you own it. No matter the seniority, the person at your company who takes a complaint is fully responsible for following it through to a resolution. Don't pass the buck. Make sure it gets fully resolved. 3. 2. Act quickly. Here is your chance for the company to shine. Look at the complaint as a gift, a moment to show off the brand--that is, the part of it that makes people satisfied, not the part that messes up sometimes. 4. Let customers know--in the immortal words of Bill Clinton--that you feel their pain. Let them know that you empathize with what they are going through. Say, "I understand how upset you must feel." Who can argue with that? This will work for you even when you've done nothing wrong. You are not necessarily agreeing with the customer or apologizing, when you say it. You're just walking in his shoes. 5. Everyone makes mistakes. Customers understand that. They just want you to fix it when you screw up. In the meantime, don't be afraid to say, "I'm sorry. This is not how we like to do business. This doesn't get you off the hook. It just acknowledges the problem, which everyone appreciates. It also reinforces that your brand, vision, and culture don't have room for what went wrong. 6. Don't try and convince the customer that it's really not as bad as he thinks. That feels patronizing, which just pours gasoline on the embers, and puts him back on defense. No one wants to feel unjustified. That never works.