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Who Needs Compliments? Bring on the Customer Complaints!

Most people think that customer complaints are bad. They tarnish the image of the company, they cause headaches for those dealing with irate customers and they reveal weaknesses in the business. However, complaints don’t have to be all bad. Instead of being a nuisance, customer complaints can provide a window into opportunities for improvement.

Managing complaints in a positive way leads to more genuine care for the customer. This benefits both the complainant and the business. And when customers don’t complain to you about a bad experience, you don’t have the chance to fix the problem.

Complaining is good

Only four per cent of customers actually voice their complaints. The problem lies with the other 96 per cent who take their business elsewhere. Handling complaints gives you a chance to redeem yourself by remedying the problem and delivering caring service.

Even if a customer has had a bad experience, they may decide to stick with you if they feel comfortable about how you dealt with their complaint, which reflects your business’s integrity as a whole. By welcoming complaints, give yourself a second chance with the customer, and stop them from heading straight to your competition.

Bring on the buzz

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An unhappy customer tells between 10 and 25 people about their negative experience. With social media, who knows how many people could be reading their complaints. Maybe hundreds? Or thousands?

Instead of ignoring complaints publicized through social media networks, acknowledge and respond to them. Treat online complaints as you would treat complaints on the telephone. Listen to the customer, be apologetic, and if necessary, refer them to the proper channel for complaints.

Most people would be happy to see any kind of response from a company through social media because it shows that someone behind the screen is listening. With that being said, it’s still best to avoid generic “Thank you for the feedback, please contact customer service” answers to everyone. Social media has the potential to reach masses of people; there is the potential that those masses of people will notice your exceptional customer service.

Complaints vs Compliments

Even though complaints and compliments are on opposite sides of the spectrum, they really aren’t all that different. We welcome compliments as praise for a company that lets managers and employees know they are doing well and what clients like. Likewise, complaints are a way for customers to let a company know what they aren’t doing well and what needs improvement.

Work with customers to achieve a solution. If one customer has a complaint, chances are that you’ll encounter the problem again. Addressing a complaint shouldn’t just be about fixing a problem for one person. It should be about evaluating and reflecting on your business. Did the customer raise a valid point in his/her complaint? Getting feedback and following up with the customer provides you with insight on what you need to do and how it will be received by the client. Harnessing complaints relies on learning from interactions with the customer.

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