Most organizations look at complaining customers as a necessary evil and part of the job that needs to be done, but it is not looked upon with a great deal of delight.
They hate complaints with a passion!
Customers complain, frontline employees try and explain the company’s position in hopes to appease the annoyed customer and the customer goes away either satisfied or even more angry.
Remarkable cultures, on the other hand, treat a complaining customer as first, a source of customer learning, and second, as a potential opportunity to recover and actually build customer loyalty.
Customer learning goes beyond traditional market research; it’s a continuous process of learning from customers what works and what doesn’t in your organization.
It focuses on every customer contact and seeks to drain as much information from the experience possible in order to enhance market performance.
A customer complaint is an excellent touch point from which to learn.
It may not always be pleasant for an employee but it can provide rich information for you. Some companies treat complaint getting as a key strategic imperative, and honor those who do a great job at it.
Great employees attract complaining customers.
Some organizations measure the number of complaints each frontline person handles successfully and they recognize the best complaint getter. Interesting cultural philosophy.
A customer complaint could be a service recovery waiting to happen. If the complaint is the result of a company blunder, handling the complaint the right way might be the difference between you losing the customer forever and enhancing their loyalty to you.
The recovery practice is about fixing the problem and then doing the unexpected for the customer based on what you know about them.
If you surprise them and give ’em what they DON’T expect, they will be more impressed than if the problem never occurred in the first place. They will give you an ‘A’ for your efforts and spread the word on how amazing you are.
Let’s stop talking about complaints and start calling them recovery opportunities.
Develop the process to turn complaint handling into successful recoveries and train your people on how you want it done.
Measure their performance and communicate it far and wide internally.
Honor those that excel in doing it.
Who are your complaint handling heroes?
A complaint-loving culture will set you apart from the crowd.
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