Beg For Customer Complaints. One More in Our Series on Key Drivers of Business Value: The Customer Experience.
It’s More Than a Three-Question Survey!
• You want to grow your business!
• You want your business to run more efficiently!
• You want new customers!
• You want to keep all of your current customers!
What if there was one way to do all four things?
You spend so much time looking for new customers – advertising, marketing, selling, networking… But what about a focus on keeping your current customers? Are you too focused on new customers walking in the front door that you don’t see current customers walking out the back door?
If you improve your internal business operations, whether you provide services or products, customer retention will follow. They will notice! But you can only go so far internally. We can all try to imagine what our customers want, how we can improve, what errors we may have made and what they see that they don’t like.
But Why Imagine?? Why not ask them??
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.
~ Zig Ziglar
Most of the time, when we get customer complaints, we fix them. We replace the item, we apologize, we give them a refund, we fix the item. But do we take the time to understand what went wrong? Internally, we need to examine our processes and find out why it happened, then focus on business process improvement to find a solution that prevents it from happening again.
But do you ever meet with the customer to discuss the situation, to understand what happened and to understand why they felt there was a problem? Do you ever engage them in the fix? Think what you could learn! Think about that help from your client.
• You can make sure that similar problems are not occurring with other customers, avoiding customer complaints on the same issue.
• You can share with all customers how you addressed the issue, letting them know that the problem won’t happen for them.
They will feel good about recommending you to new customers.
Why? You just engaged your customer in strengthening the relationship. You have done so much more than your competitors would do. You have gained a customer for life! We all make mistakes – it’s how we deal with them that makes the difference.
Your business grows…
More importantly, don’t wait for a problem!
Meet with your customers on a regular basis (more frequently with your larger customers). And be prepared! Develop a list of discussion topics that will elicit honest feedback, positive and negative. Get it to them ahead of time so they can think about it, talk with colleagues and give you something valuable to improve upon. This is not just to uncover “bad things”. Interesting ideas and suggestions for improvement will come out of a well-managed conversation!
[If you work with ISO 9000, this is a basic requirement…are you effectively engaging with your customers?]
“Begging” for those customer complaints and feedback will:
- Help you find better ways to do business!
- Bring you new customers!
- Help you keep your current customers, creating champions and spokespeople for your business!
Thereby growing your company, building business value and helping you get closer to achieving your objectives, exit plan, succession plan or other long-term goal!
If you have any complaints about this blog, Please Let Me Know!
Working with ISO 9000? Learn more about retaining and acquiring customers:
David Shavzin, CMC