In todays world, it easy for people to whinge, complain, grumble and criticise. The many avenues of communication means that these complaints can be made anonymously, which can make it hard to either defend the comment or to find out any further details.

Sometimes these negative statements can affect your standing in the community- again without the option of defence or at least a limitation to your defence.

But did you know that there are different categories of Complainers?

There are 4, and if you realise what category that person falls into, it can be easier to handle the complaint and look at it as a positive thing.

  1. A Mistake has happened. Yes- you make a mistake and you need to own up to it and fix that mistake. Look at this feedback as a good thing and that it has actually made things better. Its not meant to be destructive but rather constructive
  2. Miscommunication – Along the lines of the Abbott and Costello’s famous skit- Who’s on First, What on Second ? Miscommunication can be one of the main reasons people complain about. But once you realise that you are talking at cross purposes, it is easy to fix the problem and everyone can move on !
  3. Unreasonable Demands – Here you dealing with people that are making demands that are just excessive. For example disputing the amount you are being paid in Commission just before settlement. They think they have you at a disadvantage because they are virtually withholding payment until you renegotiate your commission amount ! But Agents- Don’t forget s 88 (2)- agents have a lien over money held in Trust for any just or valid claim. In other words if you have done everything according to the contract or agreement and they want to haggle at the end- you have the right as per this section to hold onto your commission!

This is also the category where the complaints aren’t money related but perceived Lack of Service. This is where you get complaints about how many people are going through at Open Homes. You know – the ones that are expecting over 100 people and if they get 80, are disappointed, and want you to perform a lot more marketing but not willing to pay for it. Here you need to have facts at hand to show how unreasonable this vendor is being. You need to show the client that the average Open Home only has 20 people going through the properties. In fact having 80 is an outstanding result. 

This is the category where you need to be firm but polite. Show your professionalism and knowledge by having answers at the ready, be aware of your rights and you will need all your people skills to get them to understand- your not paying for extra and your not missing out.

Unreasonable Demands also includes the “ Negative Reviewers”- these are the people that make demands, otherwise, they will post a Negative review on Google reviews or similar. These people relate to real estate agencies, especially in the area of Property Management. Is the complaint reasonable? A blocked toilet is a reasonable complaint but a tenant complaining about noisy trucks on a main road? Well answer that one yourself.

4. Mischief Makers – Thankfully, this last group I have only met once or twice in my entire working career. These are the people that are fully aware that their complaints have no basis but yet are willing to make a “complaint “ against an organisation to see what damage they can do. More often than not they take their complaint to OFT, so the first you hear of the complaint is when you receive a letter or notice. These are the hardest to fight against, unless you have a strong policy and procedure culture in your business. These policies and procedures, if followed correctly, is your defence against the Mischief Maker. 

As you can see, regardless of the category, it’s vital to have a system in place to deal with these complaints. What these complainers want is: to be listened too, be treated with Respect and for something to happen even if it’s not what they anticipated.

All of these things these can be protection in a world that still cant figure out- Who’s on First, What’s on Second. (Abbott and Costello- what a classic ! )