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Is a Complaint Really a Gift?

Posted Date: 2015-12-07

Now I’ve just fired off an email complaint to our photocopier company. I
won’t mention the brand yet. Our machine is a lemon. It has been a lemon
for 12 months. So I’ve sent an email to the exec team highlighting the main
issues over the past 12 months. The company is market leader and I’ve
already complained that they have a first class product backed up with 3rd
class service.

Now I would expect that they won’t be overly happy reading the email.
Indeed they may decide to ignore it. But if they’re smart they will
understand that the complaint is a free critique of how they are
performing. It’s interesting, I know organisations that will pay zero
attention to customer complaints that are free and honest but will spend
squillions of dollars paying consultants to conduct customer satisfaction

Now some of you will be reading this saying that you’re not directly
interacting with your customers. But you’ve probably got internal
customers. So what does it mean if they are complaining? Should you just
write them off as a bunch of whingers. Or maybe you could set aside some
time and actually tackle the issues that they are complaining about. Many
internal complaints are recurring. So if you fix the root cause of the
problem then the problem won’t revisit you endlessly.

So make a commitment that you’ll start treating complaints as a gift. Of
course you’ll get the odd complaint that needs to be ignored. But if a few
customers are complaining about the same thing, then maybe you’re ignoring
more than you're fixing!

Here’s a handy little course that I’d recommend:

How to Reduce Customer Complaints

Spare a thought for the poor photocopier people that are visiting later
today. We’ve got the whole office lined up intending to take them through
every issue slowly. All going well we’ll be done by Christmas Day.

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