We get various emails, comments, calls etc about our service, both good and bad. How do I decide what suggestions to act upon and what to put down to grumbling customers?
I’d like to change the whole tone of your question if I may and suggest that what you’re asking is how to best respond to your customers’ comments on your service – good and bad – rather than reacting to them?
The first thing you need to do is get away from right and wrong – good and bad – thinking. Instead think of your service as an umbrella with a number of buckets under it. The buckets have names: indifference, lack of knowledge, price, range and inconvenience.
You’ll find your service breakdowns normally fall into these buckets. Customers will use different words to tell you, but their meaning will still fall into one of these buckets.
[Obviously you also have a set of buckets with names of congratulations, product, staff members for the times you are praised).
When a customer makes contact, thank them for their feedback – good or bad. If good, let them know how much you appreciate them taking time to let you know and be sure to pass their comments onto the relevant staff members and management.
If the comments are not so great – thank them for bringing the issue to your attention. You now need to identify which bucket the comments fall into.
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Has anyone else said similar things? Do you constantly get the same complaint? Because if you do – you now know you have an area that is not meeting the needs of your customers.
And you need to fix it or risk alienating more of your customers.
Keep a count of comments/complaints/praise – check which buckets they fall into – and then get together with your team and nut out a way to fix the issues.
If you’re really smart, you’ll fix the issue and then send a gift voucher or some such to the customers who raised the situation in the first place. A thank you for bringing the issue to your attention. They’ll become your best advocates!
The aim is to delight your customers – not to endure grumbling. Customers grumble because they’re not happy. Your job is to discern whether the grumbling has a seed of validity to it and, if so, fix the issue.
Don’t get defensive – it’s not about right and wrong – it’s about fixing issues that you’re unaware of – otherwise you would have fixed them, right?
As a business owner you wouldn’t know there are issues, hate hearing about them, get defensive and not fix them now, would you?