At one point in my career I wore the “Director of Guest Relations” hat. While this was not my title on an organizational chart, it’s the title I used when I received a call from a customer complaining ab0ut the services they received. I took each complaint personally because I knew that statistics show for every customer complaint there are 26 other unhappy customers who have remained silent. I also knew that studies show if you’re able to fix a customer’s complaint, you can turn them into a “Raving Fan” for life.
After speaking with an unhappy customer, I always email a summary of the customer complaint to the departments involved for a training opportunity. We take customer satisfaction very seriously at our business, so our department supervisors utilize each complaint as an opportunity to fine-tune areas where balls may have been dropped.
I have only one true pet peeve when it comes to dealing with customer complaints. I do not like to hear the words, “Well, we saw lots of customers that day, and it’s just one customer who complained.” It may have been only one customer who complained, but that one customer knows a lot of people. Their opinion on the customer service provided is just as important as the other customers who said nothing, so you assume had a fantastic visit.
I encourage you to ban the words, “It’s just one customer” from your vocabulary. Having any form of those four words in your vocabulary when dealing with complaints can instantly cloud your judgment and make you unable to truly rectify the problem. More importantly, it makes you blind to the possibility that change may be needed within your business to ensure others are not having the same experience. If a customer takes the time to make a complaint to you, the very least you can do is take the time to sincerely listen to their complaint and try to see the situation from their point of view.
Remember, “Just One Complaint” can spread negative publicity about their visit just as easily (and even more likely) than another customer can spread positive word of mouth about your business. While not every customer complaint you handle will be truly justified, each person deserves a chance to have their voice heard. Shifting your team’s mindset about complaints (no matter how few you get) will greatly impact your ability to grow positive word of mouth marketing for your business.