Customer Complaints Five Major Types That You Must Know!

In our last article Five Solid Reasons Why Customers Complaints Should Be Taken Seriously, we emphasized the importance of customer complaints and later on in that article I have also provided a practical approach on how to deal with customer complaints effectively.

Now today’s article is a further addition or in other words extension to that article and here I will explain the five major types, yes! the five major types of customer complaints (actually all types of customer complaints can be summed up in these five major categories) so once you learn about these five major types then I would recommend you to read the last article, that I mentioned above so that you may understand how to deal with these complaints effectively.

Now let’s get to the five major types! ;)

Five Major Types Of Customer Complaints

1.      Performance/Operations related complaints

2.      Customer Touch Point related complaints

3.      Marketing related complaints

4.      Business/Firm/Company service related complaints

5.      Illegitimate/False Complaints

Types of customer complaints

Now let’s talk about each type one by one

Performance/Operations related complaints

Customer complaints related to product/service defects/shortcomings comes under this type, basically all product/service related complaints, issues are due to some operational or performance related malfunction, shortcoming that results in an uneven or defective value creation.

So if you receive a complaint regarding your product/service then in that case you need to confirm if it is due to some defect or shortcoming in value creation chain and if you are sure it’s not related or doesn’t points to faults, deficiency in value creation chain then any such complaint comes under the fifth type “Illegitimate/False Complaints” and you can simply ignore it (by making sure that the complaining customer realize it in a satisfactory manner that it’s not your fault).

Customer Touch Point related complaints

A customer touch point complaint here specifically means complaints related to front line staff, administration that deals with your customers. These complaints mainly focus on behavior, attitude, performance (making errors in billing, charges etc) of the front line employees, administration and effectiveness of the customer service.

Use similar approach in this case as above, like confirming if a given complaint is genuine and rightly points toward some issues in customer touch point. Then try to resolve the complaint effectively (read the post I mentioned in the beginning).

Remember in case you are a service provider, customer touch point complaints are far more important for your business than those who deal in tangible items. As according to a study customer perception of a brand depends on front line employees/administration behavior, attitude (1)

Similarly other studies have confirmed that employees performance can increase not only brand value but also regains/improve customer trust in the brand (2)(3).

So if you want your customers to take your brand positively, to love your brand, to advocate about it then you need to improve your front line/administration behavior, attitude and performance.

Marketing Related Complaints

Means when customers complaints that your brand didn’t deliver on the commercial promises it made, like the promises (discounts, BOGO offers, freebies, sale etc) you made through your promotional, advertising campaign with your target market.

So in case of any such complaints, you need to check with your marketing department, team and make sure that a promise made is a promise kept

How ?!, well you need to read that post I mentioned earlier in the beginning of this article.

Business/Firm/Company Service Related Complaints

Service complaints that implicitly report issues, problems not with your product/service but with your business, firm or company for instance your business doesn’t provide adequate human resource, training, equipment, tools, facilities, financial support etc to one or other department which is resulting in poor business performance that is affecting overall value delivery and thus resulting in customer complaints.

Such complaints aren’t related to any of the complaints types mentioned above but are still genuine, legitimate as they indirectly points to certain flaws, deficiencies, negligence in your business/firm/company standard operating procedures, policies and practices, protocols, overall strategy, tactics so on and so forth and thus demands careful analysis, evaluation of your business big picture.

Illegitimate/False Complaints

Any complaint that doesn’t come under any of these four types is clearly an illegitimate/false complaint and thus needs no attention but still you got to make sure that your customer who is making an illegitimate complaint get it, get that he/she is making an illegitimate complaint and therefore he/she can’t be entertained as he/she desires. 

Remember an illegitimate complaint maker is still your customer thus you need to take utmost care when dealing with such customer after all it costs five to eight times more to acquire new customer than to retain an old one (4).

Now if a customer gets angry, then here is something that will definitely help you to calm him/her down.

Read this short (two steps only) but really effective approach to an angry customer.

That's it, over to you guys, speak your mind, share your ideas, let's talk ! :)
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Then subscribe to this not so boring weblog and I will give you some objective, feasible stuff that will help you in improving your business, startup, marketing etc skills.

Over to you guys!


1.      Cadwallader, S., Burke Jarvis, C., Bitner, M.J. and Ostrom, A.L. (2010), “Frontline employee motivation to participate in service innovation implementation”, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol. 38, pp. 219-239.

2.      Kuehner-Herbert, K. (2009), “A growing defection: more clients ready to switch as trust wanes”, American Banker: The Financial Services Daily, available at: /-1_americanbanker_may1409_interbrand.pdf . . ./-1_AmericanBanker_May1409_Interbrand.pdf (accessed 14 November 2009).

3.      Ind, N. (2004), Living the Brand: How to Transform Every Member of Your Organization into a Brand Ambassador, 2nd ed., Kogan Page, London.


About Publisher Arshad Amin

Certified SEO Professional, Small Business, Start-up, Marketing Expert with ton's of practical, actionable ideas, insights to share, Proud Founder and Owner of and

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