How to Handle Complaints Effectively

Hamilton Fraser Cosmetic Insurance
By Hamilton Fraser Cosmetic Insurance

With over 25 years' experience, we are the industry's leading provider of cosmetic insurance services to the cosmetic industry.

Guest blog from Hamilton Fraser

As an aesthetic practitioner, your objective is to improve patients’ lives by helping them achieve their deserved aesthetic appearance. So, when a patient complains it can be stressful and upsetting to hear but it is important to listen to the patient carefully and take the complaint seriously.

In this guest blog for Consulting Room, Hamilton Fraser explains how to deal with the different types of complaints you may receive as an aesthetic practitioner.


Types of complaints you may receive

There are two main types of complaints that you should be aware of as an aesthetic practitioner, notable complaints, and reportable complaints.

Notable complaints

This is when a patient isn’t satisfied with the result of a treatment. They may feel the aftercare was unsatisfactory or that the results of the treatment were not as expected.

As a result, they may request for free treatment to remedy the problem or request a refund for the treatment.

Reportable complaints

This is when a patient makes a formal claim, which could be when a treatment has gone wrong, and the patient has suffered a bodily injury.

If reportable complaint has been raised, you could receive a letter from a solicitor requesting for compensation.


How to deal with notable complaints

It is important to acknowledge the patients concerns within 24 hours of hearing them, although this isn’t a legal requirement, it shows that you are taking their complaint seriously and committed to resolving the issue.

If your patient feels heard, they will be less likely to escalate their complaint further and a suitable resolution can often be met by mutual agreement.

When responding to a notable complaint it is recommended to provide an estimated timescale for resolution.

What to do when a notable complaint has been raised

  1. Investigate the issue

A thorough and honest investigation into the treatment carried out and the complaint received is the first step.

Remember, the full outcome of the investigation does not need to be disclosed to the patient, however you should use it to reflect upon once the complaint is resolved. Having the investigation notes to refer back to can help to avoid a similar mistake being made in the future.

  1. Summarise your findings

The summary should remain professional and objective and include whether you believe the complaint is valid, it is important to not be defensive within the write up.

Remember: You must not admit liability but show a sympathetic attitude towards their concerns.

  1. Resolve the complaint

Resolve the complaint by sharing a formal response to the patient that outlines the next steps and thank them for bringing their concerns to your attention.

The conclusion of a complaint would usually fall into one of these three categories:

  • Following a thorough investigation, you are unable to uphold the complaint and no further action is required
  • As a gesture of goodwill, you are able to offer a free treatment to correct any side effects
  • Offer a refund for the treatment that was carried out


How to deal with reportable complaints

A reportable complaint is more serious than a notable complaint and must be reported to your insurer immediately.

Once raised with your insurer, they will require the following documents so it is handy to keep a note of what would be needed in the event of a claim.

  • Solicitor’s letter or request for compensation
  • Full patient consultation and consent documentation
  • Photographs of the treatment
  • Any leaflets or electronic documents relating to the treatment that may have been provided to the patient
  • Training certificate for the practitioner(s) who have performed the treatment(s)
  • Any correspondence between the practitioner and the patient
  • Summary of how you feel the treatment went and whether you agree with the allegations. It is important to be transparent with your insurer so that they can determine the most efficient way to handle the claim on your behalf


With over 25 years' experience, Hamilton Fraser is the industry's leading provider of cosmetic insurance services and was the first to offer medical malpractice insurance. As a leader in the market, we’ve got you covered and are proud to insure the most comprehensive range of cosmetic treatments.

Get a quote online today or call the team on 0800 63 43 881


For more expert information, guidance and advice join us for the Aesthetics Business Conference (ABC), our step-by-step conference for start-up practitioners. Hosted at the prestigious Royal College of Physicians on 19 September, the conference discusses a variety of relevant sector topics helping you to develop and grow your business.

New for 2023, ABC will host several key medicolegal sessions including tax, legislation, regulation and insurance. Join our expert panel as they discuss upcoming industry regulations to fully equip you for the changes ahead.  

Secure your tickets here.

For 10% off your ABC 2023 ticket use discount code CONSULTINGROOM10.


Classifieds CR

Keep In Touch

Ensure you and your staff stay up-to-date with key topics shaping the field of aesthetics.

Your free digital round-up of relevant aesthetic news articles and trending items delivered directly to your inbox.

Immerse yourself in our quarterly, complimentary, themed digital magazine, compiled by award-winning editor Vicky Eldridge.

Stay informed of new technologies and receive exclusive news and offers from carefully selected aesthetic partners.