There are books you can buy on complaint handling. The comprehensive book Complaint Management: The Heart of CRM, by Bernd Stauss and Wolfgang Seidel is a great reference guide for managers attempting to get at the issue of how to handle complaints efficiently, while gleaning the right feedback from them at the same time. Another, more accessible book is A Complaint Is a Gift, by Janelle Barlow and Claus Moller. You could actually give this one to your front-line personnel, and ask them to read for themselves how to deal with complaining customers. Even more accessible is a pamphlet-like book entitled Handling Complaints, by Angelena Boden, part of the "Management Pocketbooks" series. Each of these are available on Amazon, I just checked.
Much too much for us to cover in this forum, but trust me – any of these books will help you more than you can imagine!
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This was first published in April 2008