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L.A.S.T is a simple mnemonic that can help you to handle customer complaints more effectively.

Listen – Simply listening to what the customer has to say can often be enough to dissipate their frustration, but it’s also an essential tool for understanding their needs and fixing the problem.

Apologise – By apologising you let the customer know that you acknowledge their complaint and take it seriously. Phrases like ‘I’m sorry your experience hasn’t lived up to expectations; that must be really frustrating’ enable you to show empathy without necessarily admitting any liability.

Solve – Because there are so many variables it’s hard to be prescriptive about how you should solve the problem, but the important thing is that you do. Don’t quibble over small details and remember that being generous in the way you compensate can be a smart investment if it fosters customer loyalty and advocacy.

Thank – There’s no such thing as negative feedback, so letting customers know that you appreciate their help in identifying a problem makes them feel valued and strengthens the relationship.