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Standard complaint... or not?


Your customer service receives a complaint via e-mail. The complaint is related to a foreign object in your product. After briefly scanning the complaint, customer service classifies it as a standard complaint about a foreign object of natural origins’.

The foreign object shouldn’t be in the product, but you know where it comes from (for example the field where the vegetables were grown) and it appears to be harmless. As a result, customer service decides to send ‘a standard letter with standard compensation’ to the consumer without any prior direct contact.

Three days later you receive a letter from the consumer. In this letter he expresses his indignation about the light-hearted approach to his complaint and he states that the 5 euro compensation that has been included will not compensate for the damages he has suffered. His letter clearly shows signs of nervousness and a mild tendency to making threats. After reading the original complaint again, you conclude that the reply may have been too swift…


The 3 tips!


Analyze each complaint critically

Always look at each complaint with a critical eye without rashly deciding that you are dealing with a standard complaint.

Always assume that the consumer is bona fide

…even when he’s not. ‘Suppose he’s telling the truth’… would that change everything?

Food Security always applies this principle to complaints for which we are asked to offer advice.


Ask relevant questions

... to get a complete picture of the situation:

- what has happened … since the product was bought in a shop?

- who bought, prepared, consumed the product... ? Who found the foreign object?

- when was the product bought, prepared, consumed… ?

- how has the product been treated, prepared, stored… ?

- etc.

Food Security can help its members by:

- implementing and checking efficient procedures for receiving complaints and providing registration forms for calls

- offering the training course ‘Dialogue with the Consumer’ to help employees who have telephone contact with consumers as well as people who need to pick up a product from a consumer

- offering advice on out of the ordinary or particularly sensitive complaints

Do not hesitate to contact us!