Complaints happen. That is part of life and part of business. But deal with them well and you can turn an unhappy customer into a fan even a raving fan.
What is critical for every business is happy customers. The question is how do smart businesses deal with complaints and keep customers happy and satisfied?
First thing you must do is have a way (a system) where people can make their complaint easily and have it resolved promptly. You could call this system “our customer feedback channel” or “giving our valued customers what they want”. Another simple system is to follow people up after they have dealt with you and your business to find out what they thought about how we did. This is something that can also be done at regular intervals. You can ask them “how was your experience in dealing with us”?
The key to remember:
When it comes to problems or defects, the customer will remember the satisfying outcome, not the original error. Studies conducted by the Marriott on guest return rates found the following astonishing results:
- If there was no problem with their stay, the return rate was 89%.
- If there was a problem and it was not corrected the return rate dropped to 69%.
- However, this is where it gets really interesting. If there was a problem and it was solved to the guests satisfaction the return rate jumped to 94%.
So the moral of the story is constantly speak to your customer, patients, clients and find out how you are doing as a business. Find out are you serving their needs, are you adding value to them. Are they having a positive experience when they are coming to deal with you.
As you can see from the Marriott example if there are issues and problems and they are rectified then the relationship actually can get stronger. That does not mean that we should go out of our way to create problems so we can fix them. It means that when they do crop up do not blame the customer, fix them and the relationship will be stronger than before.
This stuff is very important for the relationship. Relationships as we all know are based on trust. The more people know they can trust us to do the right thing the more they will want to work with us. They will also refer friends, relatives and associates. If you ignore the problem it will not go away, it will just get worse. Customers will lose trust and our business will suffer.
I have seen many instances out there were that happens and the owners of the business do not look at themselves and their systems (or lack of them). They just blame the economy or the economic conditions. The funny thing is that the economy is only about 12.4% of the reasons why businesses fail. The other 87.6% of why businesses fail is due to the people in the business. They are not looking after the customer, not managing cash flow, not training and keeping their team focused and motivated.
MasterChef Australia judge, celebrity chef, restauranter – George Colambaris says: “People come to his restaurants to put joy in their lives, so if they’re not happy he wants to know about it”. We should all operate with this philosophy and then we can reduce or eliminate one of the areas (customer happiness) that can lead to business failure.
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