The Power of Complaints
We often dread having to deal with customer complaints, but what if we embraced this feedback and used it to improve and grow the business through improved advocacy?
In his book “Hug Your Haters,” Jay Baer suggests complainers are actually your best advocates, and rather than discourage complaints, we should be encouraging their feedback and rewarding them for giving us the opportunity to make improvements.
After all, we can only manage what we know about, and far better for us to be given a chance to resolve the issue than trying to fix a bad business reputation. Baer’s research found that customers who have their problems resolved spend more and are more loyal than customers without a problem. Conversely, ignoring and not responding to complaints significantly decreases customer advocacy.
Ignore your complaints at your peril — after all, failing to respond just reinforces in the customer’s mind that you don’t really value the feedback.
You can leverage the opportunity that feedback and complaints provide to your business by:
- Ensuring you have a complaints handling system in place. This includes the procedures for logging and recording the feedback: who responds to the complaint and in what channel, and the required response time (ideally a maximum of 48 hours).
- Providing opportunity for and encouraging feedback in-club. This may be as simple as providing a locked feedback box with readily available forms for customers to complete.
- Regularly review your social media channels and acknowledge and respond to all reviews (even the positive ones). If there is an issue, take the conversation offline, and engage with the customer directly by phone or email.
- Conduct regular surveys of your members directly, and benchmark against both your own and industry standards.
So embrace your complainers, and make it your goal to “answer every complaint, every channel, every time” to create advocates for your business.
Kristen Green is the executive manager at AquaFit. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.