Keep Those Complaints Coming, complaints are look at normally as pitfalls or as a failure when they should be seen as an opportunity for growth! Donâ€™t run or try to hide from them all they can do it help you build a better business. Check out my current media release on the crucial topic of service recovery!
KEEP THOSE COMPLAINTS COMING
Theyâ€™re Valuable to Youâ€”and to the Offending Company
Most of us hate complaints. We hate to get them, and we hate to give them. John Tschohl, on the other hand, loves to do both. He views complaints as a positive, not a negative.
â€œWhen customers complain to a company about its products or services, they are giving that company an opportunity to improve,â€ says Tschohl, founder and president of Minneapolis-based Service Quality Institute and the internationally recognized service strategist. â€œWhen you complain, you really are acting like a consultant to that particular company, letting it know where it has deficiencies. I complain all the time and, when someone complains to me, I thank them and do whatever is necessary to improve the product or service that was at the core of the problem.â€
Tschohl goes as far as to recommend that companies encourage their employees to solicit complaints, to give customers the opportunity to tell them how they can improve. â€œThat might be something as simple as an employee saying to a customer, â€˜Thank you for your business. Did you experience any problems as you were making your purchase?â€™â€ Tschohl says. â€œThose statements do two things: They let customers know that you appreciate their business and that you are willing to acceptâ€”and act onâ€”any complaints they might have.â€
Whether itâ€™s bad service or a faulty product, consumers have the rightâ€”and the responsibilityâ€”to complain, Tschohl says. He offers up several suggestions on how to do so, whether youâ€™re an individual consumer or a company doing business with another company, and to have your problem resolved to your satisfaction.
Arm yourself. Gather receipts, warranties, and anything else that documents your purchase and your problem. â€œThe more information you can provide the company, while registering your complaint, the greater the chance that the situation will be resolved to your satisfaction,â€ Tschohl says.
Be firm, but courteous. When you put people on the defensive by being angry and yelling, the chance of having your problem solved drops drastically. â€œLet me give you an example,â€ Tschohl says. â€œWhen a friend discovered that her two $50 vouchers for an airline had expired, she wrote to the airline. Her opening statement set the tone: â€˜I realize that this is my problem, not yours.â€™ She went on to explain her situation and, within a matter of days, the airline sent her two newvouchers that were good for a year.â€ By being polite and accepting responsibility for the situation, she was treated like a queen.â€
Be clear about what you want. â€œLetâ€™s say that you purchased a new computer that isnâ€™t functioning properly,â€ Tschohl says. â€œInstead of saying, â€˜What are you going to do about this?â€™ calmly state that you would like a refund or a replacement. When you bought that computer, you expected it to do everything the manufacturer and the retailer said it would do; when it didnâ€™t, you have a right to expect the company to make the situation right.â€
Set a reasonable time limit for action. â€œLetâ€™s say that you had your carpets cleaned, but within two days stains started to reappear,â€ Tschohl says. â€œEven if the carpet cleaning company says it will clean them again, thatâ€™s not good enough. Politely give them a time limitâ€”10 working days is standardâ€”to rectify the situation.â€
Take it to the top. â€œIf your contacts with employees and managers do not result in a solution to your problem, contact the companyâ€™s president,â€ Tschohl says. â€œYou can be sure that, when your complaint lands on the presidentâ€™s desk, he or she will hand it off to the appropriate person for resolution.â€
Take it over the top. â€œIf you have registered your complaint with a companyâ€™s employees and its president and still have not had it resolved, that doesnâ€™t mean youâ€™re out of luck,â€ Tschohl says. â€œYou can contact a local consumer advocate organization, or the governmental agency that oversees the particular industry with which you are concerned. Most local TV stations and newspapers also have consumer reporters who address consumer complaints. The threat of bad publicity can be a great motivator for a company to resolve your problem.â€
The next time you have a complaint about a product or service, donâ€™t suffer in silence. Do yourself and the offending company a favor: complain.