Sometimes, I get the strangest looks when I tell a client that they should appreciate whenever a customer complains. Certainly, no one really likes anyone to complain, however; your business model, your equipment and the people who run them are not perfect and are quite capable of failing to meet the expectations of customers. No matter how well you and your staff provide service you will occasionally fail to meet a customer’s expectations of service. It is a fact of life in a service-oriented business.
The most important message I can share with you about customer complaints is the perspective of how you look at complaints and how you might respond to them in such a way that makes the customer feel cared for and also provides you with information that could be helpful to your business.
To be sure, all complaints are not valid and yes, there is the occasional customer who is just a chronic complainer, or even worse, may be trying to get over on you to get something for nothing. However, most customers who do complain have valid concerns, or comments about your business that need attending to if the customer is to continue to be a customer at your business. And you really need to know if customers are not happy.
Are you not getting complaints? Well that may be a good thing, or it may be a very bad thing. If customers are constantly telling how great your business is and espousing about how much they enjoy being a customer at your business then you may be on track. However, I am talking about well over 50% of your customers commenting verbally, or non-verbally that they really like the service and the experience. However, if you are only getting occasional positive comments, or your customers are not saying anything, then that may be a sign that they are not satisfied with the service, or results you are delivering.
So, next time a customer complains…think about it this way; they may be trying to give you a gift of information that could be helpful to you improving some aspect of your business that may need improvement. Accept the complaint as a gift (regarless if you like the way the gift is wrapped) and thank them for taking the time to share their comments.
You never know…the complaining customer often may become a great customer if you handle them with respect and appreciation.