Business Tips: Complaints Handling – Are You Doing Enough?
Complaints. Nobody likes hearing them, but they are part of life even in the most customer focused, efficiently run businesses. However hard you strive to meet your customers’ needs, there is always going to be someone who isn’t happy. This could be because of a one off human error, a process issue or because their expectations of your product or service don’t match the reality.
While the best businesses manage to keep their complaints to a minimum, when they do receive negative feedback they are quick to respond and make every attempt to resolve the issue. Nobody likes dealing with negative feedback but while it can be very tempting to just ignore it or put it to the bottom of the priority list, letting customer issues go unresolved can be highly damaging for your reputation.
There’s a well known adage that one unhappy customer will tell an average of 10 people about their bad experience, while a happy customer will only tell one person. This means that for every 100 customers your business has, if only 10% are unhappy, they will tell 100 people, while the other 90% will only tell 90 people about their positive experience.
It’s clear that even a small proportion of unhappy customers can do your business serious damage so it’s important to make sure you have a clear process for handing complaints and resolving them before they impact your referrals and overall reputation.
Taking a proactive approach to complaints handling is especially important for small businesses, and those that rely on word of mouth (like professional services businesses), as even a small amount of negative feedback can affect your business over the long term.
The good news is that with the right approach you can often turn a negative situation into a positive one. By taking steps to resolve customer complaints and providing people with a publicly available dispute resolution system, you can create trust between you and your clients. This will increase the chances that they will want to do business with you in the future, even in cases where the dispute wasn’t resolved to their satisfaction.
Why is it so important to have a dispute resolution system?
In today’s business environment, no matter what industry you are in, trust and transparency are essential. Your customers and clients will be reassured by knowing that if they do have a problem, they have some form of recourse and that they will be dealt with fairly and openly.
By giving your dispute resolution system a clear process and communicating this to your customers or clients you can create an environment of transparency and trust that will help them feel more comfortable and confident in their dealings with you.
Dispute resolution systems are commonplace in some industries, like retail, banking and travel, but they are often less common in others, especially professional services.
Turn your complaints into an opportunity to really impress your customers and clients with a clear complaints handling system and you can help safeguard your reputation and turn your unhappy customers into loyal brand advocates.