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Six Steps for Handling Member Complaints

MemberClicks Blog Avatar MemberClicks Blog January 19, 2015
Table of Contents
2 min read


Despite an association’s best efforts, complaints happen. But no matter what the cause, unhappy members are still members and it’s important for associations to try and make them happy again. If you’re thinking, “easier said than done,” then take a look at these six steps for handling member complaints. 

Listen carefully

At the end of the day, people just want to feel like they’ve been heard, so when a member comes to you with a complaint, listen to them carefully without any interruptions. Not only will this give them a chance to blow off any steam, but it will give you an opportunity to gather sufficient details about the situation.


You may not have done anything wrong, but this isn’t the time to get defensive. Let the member know that you’re sorry for how the situation has made them feel and that you’re willing to help in any way that you can. Trust me, showing sympathy goes a long way with people.  

Reach an agreement

Despite your best intentions, you can miss the mark completely if you fail to deliver what the member actually wants. Not sure what the member wants? Ask! They’ll be more than happy to tell you and actually surprised that you took this extra initiative.  

Act quickly

Once you determine a solution, act with a sense of urgency. Members will be more receptive to your efforts if they know you’re doing everything you can to resolve their issue.  

Communicate regularly

If a problem cannot be resolved right away, let the member know up front and keep them in the loop as you work towards a solution. Members will only become more irritated if they don’t know what’s going on, so keep them updated and explain what steps you’re taking to resolve the issue.  

Follow up

Following up can sometimes be difficult, especially if you’re a small-staff association with limited resources. But trust me, this step is critical. Following up shows that you truly care about your members and that they’re not just “out of sight, out of mind.”

Some complaints can be avoided altogether with the help of proper AMS. What is an AMS you ask and how can it help with your association’s communications? Download our free guide below to find out! 

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