Complaints from unhappy customers, bad online reviews. These things seem inherently negative. No one wants to hear that they’ve done something wrong, made an error, or failed to meet their customers’ expectations. But even the most prudent of businesses are capable of being on the receiving end of such criticism. Are customer complaints always a bad thing? Not necessarily. Experts suggest that complaints may in fact serve to strengthen and enhance your business. It’s all in how you respond.
You Have a Chance to Make it Right
Is a customer less-than-thrilled with one of your products or services? Perhaps they’ve taken to posting an online review to air their grievance. Consumers use Yelp, Facebook, and other Internet arenas to have their complaints voiced (and seen by a wide audience).
Fortunately, this is your shot to do something about it. And an online complaint gives you the opportunity to take action in a very public way. First, listen and try to understand the issue from the customer’s point of view. Then, apologize sincerely and work to find an appropriate solution to the problem. Organisations that go above and beyond to set situations right leave a positive impact. Last, resolve the problem in the best possible manner, and follow up with the customer. If you are able to do these things, chances are you’ve now made your unhappy customer more than satisfied.
While a customer who is vocal is most likely to complain, these same people are often the ones most likely to spread word of their positive experiences as well. If you’ve worked hard and resolved their issue, there’s a good chance you’ll have a new loyal customer, and an ambassador for your business.
Criticism Can Improve Your Processes
No one enjoys criticism, but sometimes it is warranted, particularly if repeat issues occur. Complaints may signal that it’s time to take a scrutinising look at your business and see where you can improve.
What is generating the complaints? If customers are declaring that your business provides poor service, it may be worth discussing your customer service approach with your staff. Perhaps there are methods of streamlining the service process and making it easier and more pleasant for all involved.
Maybe there is another issue that has generated complaints. Whatever that concern is, you can examine all of your processes closely and find out where there is a lapse in quality or communication. A great many business challenges have been resolved swiftly when it was discovered that a simple improvement in communication or a change in systems and processes is all that was needed.
A Boost for Your Online Presence
Customer complaints can have another unintended benefit. If you’re receiving online reviews, even bad ones, each mention of your business name can serve as a boon to your company’s SEO strength. This means that these complaints just might make it easier for potential customers to find you! And if you handle your customer issues with patience and efficiency, you’ll find that more and more of those bad reviews become glowing praise.