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How Complaints Can Build Your Business

Source: PINE Connections, August/September 2017

If every job your firm received met customer specs and arrived on time, complaints would be non-existent, CSRs would be less stressed, and your business would miss a golden opportunity to grow. Why? Because resolving each and every customer complaint gives your staff the chance to offer better service and increase customer loyalty. And loyalty goes a long way to building business. In fact, according to Minneapolis-based firm performance research associates, “a customer with a satisfactorily resolved problem will produce an average of three times the amount of revenue as a customer without a problem.” 

To use complaints as opportunities to expand your company, consider these techniques: 

Encourage communication about complaints. If employees are afraid to talk to the boss when a customer complains for fear of retribution, management will never know why some clients go away and never come back. 

Thank the client. Remember, when a client complains they are giving you an opportunity to improve your service instead of just taking their business elsewhere. 

Always apologize. The rule of thumb for service personnel is the customer is always right in their mind … even when they’re wrong.  Ingrain into your staff that apologizing does not mean they are personally responsible for their dissatisfaction, it means they are sorry the situation occurred. 

Work towards resolving the issue. CSRs need to find out from the customer how the situation can be corrected. Management and sales reps should be kept in the loop with this information. Once a plan for resolution is developed, keep the customer updated as to how and when your firm will fix the problem. Be sure to give them a timetable so they will expect to hear from you. 

Follow up with the client. Confirm that the customer is satisfied with the resolution of the problem. Customers will really appreciate how much your firm values their input. 

Learn from the experience. The last step in using complaints to your advantage is to prevent the same type of problem from happening in the future. Share the problem and its resolution with the entire staff. Then, use the CSRs and other personnel who worked together to satisfy the client. The result will be improved customer service at all levels.


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