Friday, December 4, 2015

Customer complaint goldmines

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     You get complaints when you are in business. Complaints are part of the territory. They come in many colorful ways, but all are useful in helping you improve your operation.

     Example: Gina runs a hair salon. When a new customer posted negative comments on Facebook, Gina responded in a professional way. She posted positive comments of her own, keeping the focus on every customer's concerns. She offered a free do-over for the lady who complained, turning the complaint into good vibes.

     Example: Jill runs a breakfast cafe. One customer complained about the meal, although he had eaten everything--the eggs were runny, the coffee was cold, the orange juice watery. Jill wiped out the charge and apologized to the man. When he left, she immediately looked into the situation. She found that the cook was rushing orders and the waitress was overwhelmed that day. Jill used the customer's complaint to re-organize the flow of orders through the kitchen, and she hired part-time waitresses she could call to help out as needed.

     Example: Karl is a massage therapist. A first-time client complained at the end of her session that she had been bruised. While nothing was apparent on the woman's skin, she insisted that it was a deep bruise and therefore would not show. Karl offered a double solution--he would waive the charge for this session and he gave her a gift certificate for a future session. He suspected that she was angling for this all along. Today, the woman calls regularly for an appointment. 

     Example: Mary is an artist who makes glass mosaics. She has a small studio and the public is welcome to visit. She also has a website and a Facebook presence. Her phone number is published and she gets calls, but when she is busy on her mosaics, she sometimes lets the call go to voice mail. One woman called every 15 minutes for an hour, finally leaving a telling message: "If you cannot pick up the phone, I assume you are out of business." When Mary tried to call the woman back, the woman hung up on her. Today, Mary answers every phone call--promptly.

     Whatever the complaint, it is an opportunity to improve your business. Of course, sometimes, people complain because that's who they are. Know the difference. Complaints can be goldmines.

     Complaints are useful. Think positively and use complaints to help you improve your business.  

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