This is a good thought:
"Statistics suggest that when customers complain, business owners and managers ought to get excited about it. The complaining customer represents a huge opportunity for more business."
I have always thought that complainers are an annoying breed and should be avoided at all costs. But, Zig Ziglar has a good point -- a "glass is half full" view.
Not that you want to give your customers a lot to complain about. That is certainly not the case. But actively listening, not getting defensive, and finding something actionable in their comments is a response that can help you gain a lot of ground.
In many of our advisory board meetings and executive summits, we do sessions on customer challenges. It gives our clients a chance to hear from their customers on things that could make life better for them, and it provides their customers with an opportunity to feel that their challenges are being heard and acted upon. That exercise alone is tremendous, not only for product and service improvements, but also for building a trusting and respected relationship.
While it's human nature to want to get defensive and provide too much information on why something is the way it is, we coach our clients to just listen. Taking customer input (in this case, that's a nice way of saying 'complaints') and finding solutions could pave the way toward innovation and growth. So next time you get a call from an unhappy customer, be sure to sincerely thank them for the time they took to let you know. It could translate into money in the bank.
Until next time,