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First complaint, how hard did it hit?

If I am totally honest, I don’t remember my first complaint. What I do remember, is the feeling of receiving a complaint; that familiar heart racing anxiety that takes over! My heart still drops at the thought of a patient leaving unhappy or returning with a complaint. It’s inevitable really, we will all receive a complaint at some point during our aesthetics journey.

A complaint can often lead to people playing ‘the blame game’. You see practitioners writing on forums ‘they didn’t follow the aftercare’ or ‘I think they have been to someone else, it’s not my work’. So I think the question is.. not how hard the first complaint hit, but how hard it hits when you realise it could be a fault of your own. We are human, we aren’t perfect and yes we will make mistakes. Of course experience helps to reduce the incidence of this, but sometimes it will still catch you when you’re not looking! Now ouch.. that hurts!

I can say though, that reflecting on my mistakes has provided a great source of learning! I leave each one with more insight into my patients and my practice, taking notes on how I could avoid a repeat of this in the future! I think when dealing with complaints one of our biggest fears is to log on to social media and witness the public slandering of your business. We are in a culture where we often turn to social media to fire a review, Facebook status or tweet- potentially due to its ease? Rather than contact the practitioner directly with our concerns and give them the chance to rectify. I often wonder if this is because of social media’s readiness to accept these complaints? As a society we thrive off of drama, we love to read the downfall of others and it soon becomes tomorrow’s workplace gossip! Maybe as a society we have become so used to communicating through our devices we know longer know how to express our dissatisfaction in person? Maybe the uncomfortable feeling of making a complaint is easier to deal with behind a keyboard?

Anyway it’s all food for thought and I am drifting off topic! So let’s finish with; Every practitioner in this industry would have received a complaint at some point in their career, nobody is alone on that, it’s how we learn from those complaints that set us apart.

Grace Cobner

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