When a client complains about your service, whether or not you are at fault, your response can positively or negatively affect your future relationship. Remember that when a client complains, he or she is expressing a state of mind. That openness provides an opportunity for you to affect that client’s state of mind moving forward.

In September 2016, I presented these ideas during the “Practice Tips” sessions at the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) Conference. Several of these suggestions are adapted from Steven Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.”

Seize the Complaint

With a good client, even if their suggested solution is unfair, you might want to concede. If so, explain your reasoning. Let the client know you making concessions based on your relationship, even though you do not feel you were at fault. Once you have arrived at a mutually satisfactory solution, move on. Don’t spend more time re-stating your position or pointing fingers.

By following these steps, you should be able to turn complaints into opportunities for solving problems and building long-term, trusting relationships with clients.