Nobody likes to deal with unhappy, disgruntled, complaining customers. However, 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.
Consider this: For every customer who lodges a complaint, there are 24 MORE customers who have had similar unhappy experiences, but they did not complain! At least they didn't complain to the business owner or even an employee of the business.
How many of you have had a bad experience at a business? And how many of you complained about that bad experience to someone who could do something about it? Chances are, you didn't. However, you did tell someone about your unhappy experience. You told your family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. In fact, you told everyone except someone who could do something about it! In your business, your unhappy customers (and don't kid yourself, everyone has unhappy customers) will complain to SOMEONE, but probably not to YOU. Consequently, when a customer DOES complain to you, get excited about it. This is an opportunity for you to handle the situation professionally and re-earn that customer's loyalty. Fix the problem (if you can) and enjoy making future sales to that customer.
How do you know when customers are dissatisfied? When they complain! However, since most unhappy customers won't complain (to you), you need to ask them if they're satisfied with your product or service, or your business overall. Most businesses do not make it easy or convenient for angry customers to complain.
That's because the businesses doesn't want to invite confrontations. Get over it! Invite your customers to give you feedback, even if it's negative. Ask them to grade you on your performance. Give them the opportunity to provide comments in writing, or via voice mail.
Here's a simple idea. Create a Report Card for your business and ask your customers to give you letter grades for quality, courtesy, timeliness, reliability, etc. Give the Report Card to every customer. Don't wait for them to pick up a copy, give it to them. If you can't give it to every customer, give it to 30 or so customers every week, randomly. Be pro-active. Ask your customers to help you improve your business by grading you and providing their comments.
Welcome the complaining customer! If you do, you can reduce the overall number of complaints and the negative impact that occurs when dissatisfied customers complain to everyone but you.
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