If you are like most business owners, you would give anything to know what your customers are thinking. While customer complaints never seem like a good way to find that out, they do have one major benefit: They give you insight into how your business is perceived.
Another reason to be thankful when a customer complains directly to you is that when most people are upset about a product or service, they will simply tell family and friends—or broadcast it on social media.
When a customer comes directly to you with a problem, they are allowing you to not only right the wrong, they are allowing you to gain a treasure trove of information about how you can improve your product or service for all your customers.
Here are just a few of the things that you can learn from a disgruntled customer:
- What systems or processes are not working
- Which employees are not knowledgeable, or worse, rude and unhelpful
- Products or services that you need to eliminate or upgrade
In most cases, you would need to engage customers through telemarketing calls, customer surveys or other methods to effectively gage how your products or services are resonating with clients. When a customer complains directly to you, consider it a free mini-focus group.
Of course, this information will do no good if you do not take the complaint seriously and try to fix things. Therefore, make it a point to do the following every time you receive a customer complaint:
- See it from the customer’s point of view. If you customer ordered the wrong product was it because your ordering process is unclear? Does your website contain the wrong information? Is a particular product faulty?
- Thank the customer. When a customer knows you appreciate their feedback, even if it is negative, it makes them feel valued.
- Take action. Don’t just say you are going to make something right, make sure you do just that.
- Follow-up. Call a customer after you have attempted to make things right to make sure the issue has been resolved to their satisfaction.
When a customer complains and doesn’t feel as if their complaints have been taken seriously, you can be sure you have lost that customer for good. When you go above and beyond to make things right you likely have earned a customer for life. And that’s nothing to complain about.