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Customer complaint? It’s a Gift

7.15.13

We all like compliments. What a nice shirt! Great job on that presentation! Those jeans make you look skinny! But what about complaints? Can we honestly say that we always appreciate this type of feedback?

In customer oriented organizations, complaints should be considered gifts. They should be accepted with the same anticipation and curiosity as if received in a beautifully wrapped little box. Complaints are gifts because they are our clients’ way of offering us a second chance to get it right. When a customer doesn’t invest the time and energy to complain, you’re in deep trouble. You’ve probably lost the advantage of knowing your offer has fallen short of expectations before the problem impacts your bottom line.

Have you made it easy for your clients to give you these gifts? Giving key accounts a single point of contact is a great strategy, but what happens when the SPOC you’ve provided is the source of the dissatisfaction? That’s why executive relationships are vital. Giving your clients the ability to pick up the phone and share concerns directly with your upper management is the business equivalent of being one of Santa’s LinkedIn connections. Direct line to the gift man.

And when someone gives you a gift you should, of course, express gratitude. When the gift is a complaint, the highest form of gratitude you can convey is to fix the problem. Once fixed, you should make a call explaining the root cause of the problem, how you fixed it, and why it will never happen again. Do this well and my guess is that you will have effectively turned a complaint into a bonding agent that will strengthen your connection with the customer. And that’s a great gift!

 

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