Don’t let customer complaints ruin your day — or your business. Consider these examples to learn from those grievances.
It’s never fun to hear a customer complain about something. But don’t panic, don’t get defensive, don’t yell at your employees. After the initial sting it’s time to swing into action. Be grateful your client told you they were unhappy about something because there’s a good chance other clients have the same complaint, they’re just not telling you about it and you may be at risk of losing them.
When a customer tells you about a problem it means they still want to do business with you, otherwise they wouldn’t bother.
So, unless the customer is just having a bad day, or it’s someone who complains about everything, he or she might be pointing out something that needs a little attention. The best response is to learn from it and figure out a way to address it, both immediately and in the future — maybe setting up a training program, putting in new procedures, changing focus. Consider these examples:
1. Your technician was rude. You can’t be with your employees every minute so your clients are your eyes and ears in the field when it comes to employee behavior. In a perfect world your technicians would friendly and customer-oriented 24/7. But that doesn’t always happen — people have bad days — so you might need to teach your staff how to act in a professional manner, and how to handle difficult clients in a mature, calm fashion.
Regular meetings might be appropriate or perhaps one-on-one mentoring. Any job that involves face time with customers presents challenges, but when you are relentless about letting employees know professional behavior is a priority for you, most will come around. Keep this skill set in mind for future hires.
2. Your trucks are dirty. Environmental sites are dirty and dusty. Most clients probably don’t care what your trucks look like, but when you take that same truck that’s been through the mud to a first-time job without washing it first, the first impression could be detrimental.
It’s not always easy to fit a truck cleaning into everyone’s schedule, but if it’s important to clients, it’s important to you. It shows professionalism, personal pride, attention to detail, and concern for the customer.
3. You’re too expensive. Not all complaints can be solved to the customer’s satisfaction. A complaint about price doesn’t mean you have to lower your prices. But don’t ignore the issue. There is still something to be learned. If you can’t fight competition on price, make sure you beat them on something else — outstanding customer service, no billing problems, friendly staff.
Some people will always make decisions solely on price. You can’t win that game. But for other people (perhaps even a majority) that’s not the only issue.
Some companies have completely turned their sales around by addressing customer complaints. It’s a rich source of information, a friendly wake-up call to change or improve something, and an opportunity to learn how to better serve your customers.