One of the situations employees hate most is dealing with customer
complaints. This is too bad because customer complaints offer a goldmine of
information to companies, if they deal with it effectively.
Too many companies fail to handle customer complaints well because they see
them as negative. If managements views them as negative, so will employees. It
becomes part of the culture.
On the other hand, companies that welcome and use customer feedback create
opportunities to build customer loyalty and employee engagement. And they get
all the benefits that go along with more loyal customers and more engaged
employees. (Like higher revenue, lower expenses and increase profits to name a
And it’s not hard to do. Here are some tips to help get more from your
1. View complaints as feedback. That makes it positive rather than negative.
In fact, banish the word “complaint” from your company lexicon.
Replace it with “feedback”.
2. Reward employees who gather feedback. If management sees customer
feedback as negative, so will employees. The culture of the company will be to
discount or even ignore it rather than embrace it. Reverse that trend by
rewarding employees who acquire useful feedback from customers.
3. When customers offer feedback, take it seriously. Listen and show that
you consider it important. Apologize and let them know what you will do to fix
the problem. Don’t just offer some compensation and leave it at that. You risk
offending people when you offer compensation. Plus you give them no reason to
believe things will change, so why would they come back?
4. Never offer excuses (or blame employees) to customers. As customers, we
don’t care why things go wrong. We just want them fixed. It’s your job to make
sure things will be okay when I do business with you. So help me feel assured
that will happen. Excuses and blame don’t solve problems.
5. Empower employees to deal with customer feedback and resolve situation as
best they can. This means train them in how to handle situations and give them
the authority to offer a range of solutions to customers. Help employees become
solutions providers for their customers rather than whipping posts. This will
help your employees be more productive and feel better about dealing with
6. Make customer feedback available to everyone in the company. Analyze
feedback that shows problems and look for solutions to prevent them from
happening again. Don’t point fingers or blame. And celebrate good feedback. Let
people know when customers rave about them. Use feedback as examples for
training staff. By getting everyone involved, you increase the number of
possible solutions to the problem.
7. Make it easy for customers to offer feedback. Don’t waste their time with
lengthy surveys or complicated telephone trees. Make it fast, easy and
convenient to customers to tell you how you’re doing. And make sure you respond
to all feedback. Thank them and let them know how important it is to your
Engaging your customers and employees in a robust and positive feedback system
will provide huge returns. You’ll develop a priceless database of how to
improve your company. And you’ll develop employees and customers who want to
help you improve the company. That gives you a competitive advantage that is