Hearing and responding to complaints can be difficult,
especially if you feel like you are under attack for
something you didn’t do.  But your response can
make all the difference in how the situation turns out.

It starts with understanding.

The #1 reason people complain is that they have
certain expectations about how things are “supposed”
to be—and those expectations are not met.

How can you help?

Here are 10 tips to help you handle complaints like a pro!

1. Show empathy. 

Your client is going through a lot.  Having a new diagnosis or worsening chronic condition, being in pain, and feeling ignored can all be extremely frustrating.  It almost always feels like you aren’t getting enough attention and that people aren’t listening to your concerns.

2. Don’t just hear—listen. 

Let your clients know that you are listening by maintaining eye contact.  Keep a relaxed posture. Avoid crossing your arms and looking at your watch.  Stay present in the conversation.  This will help to establish trust and enhance communication.

3. Be nice. Be caring. Be thorough. Keep your promises

Your role as a caregiver is to provide safe care.  But that’s different from being able to take it a step further and really help your clients feel safe and well-cared for.

4. Every complaint deserves a solution. 

How ever large or small the complaint, your role is to listen and respond.  It’s never okay to “blow-off” a client’s complaint because you feel it’s “ridiculous” or “unimportant.”

5.Time matters. 

The quicker a complaint is resolved, the less likely it is to escalate into something much worse.

6. Try not to take it personally.

When someone complains to you or about you, it can be difficult to remain objective. But, you’ll keep your cool and resolve the complaint quickly if you follow these four easy steps:

  • Actively listen to the person making the complaint so you can fully understand their concerns.
  • Sincerely apologize. Even if it’s not your fault, apologize on behalf of your co-worker, team, or supervisor.
  • Solve the problem. If possible, resolve the problem or promise to do so in a timely matter.
  • Express gratitude to the person for bringing the problem to your attention.

7. Some people just live unhappy lives, for whatever reason. 

And when people feel miserable, they tend to complain about everyone and everything.  If you have clients like this, remember that you can’t control how unhappy people act—but you can control how you react.

8. Ask for help. 

Talk to your supervisor if you provide care for a client who has many complaints or makes you feel uncomfortable, either physically or emotionally.  There are times when an assignment change is the best solution.

9. Never stop learning! 

Accept every complaint as an opportunity to grow and learn.

10. Stay positive! 

You got into this field because you enjoy helping people.  Stay helpful by staying positive.

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