Insights
Listen to customer complaints
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  • 22 Sep 2013

Not many like to complain – so listen to those who do!

Kiwis typically don’t like to complain. So when they do, it pays to listen. For most, a bad customer experience usually leads to them voting with their feet – they never go back. A complaint is usually the customer’s way of saying they’re prepared to give you the chance to get it right – so we must treasure the fact they’ve bothered to give us feedback of any kind.

It should never come down to a case of who is right and who is wrong, as a single complaint is never worth losing a customer over. A range of research shows that between 70 to 90 percent of customers are willing to do business with you again if you can successfully resolve their issue the first time around.

So how do you go about that?

We recommend using the ADT approach!

A: Acknowledge the complaint

Simply taking their concerns on board will often be all it takes. Just agree what the problem is that the customer is complaining about, show some empathy (“I can understand why you’re frustrated”) and don’t try to blame or, even worse, defend your position.

D: Discuss with the customer

Discuss with the customer how you could put things right – sometimes what they are seeking is far less than what you might initially think. Letting them tell you what would make things right can be a great place to start – cleaning a spot off a garment, or offering a small credit for a future purchase might be quite acceptable to them – before we go and offer the world.

T: Tell them what you’ve done

Tell them once you’ve arrived at a satisfactory solution and be very clear on what you have agreed to do. Also outline what you’ll do to make sure that a similar issue doesn’t arise again. For example “Thank you for letting us know. We’ll take extra care in the future to make sure that the same thing doesn’t happen again.” This last bit is important – it makes the customer feel valued and takes some of the pain out of having complained.

Fix it, and you’ll gain a huge fan

And here’s a key. Sometimes resolving a problem really well can earn you more brownie points than if it all went smoothly in the first place. Some of you might be old enough to remember the L.V. Martin & Son tagline – “It’s the putting right that counts!” It’s true – doing a great job resolving a customer’s issue can stand out more than if everything goes OK in the first place. Why? Because very few do. And not only do you stand out, but by dealing with the issue better than they were expecting, you could even turn a potentially damaging situation into one where you create a very loyal customer and maybe even an advocate!

So don’t shy away from customer complaints. Welcome them and turn into happier, more loyal customers who promote your business to all and sundry!