Help to Grow: Management Course | Kingston University

Finding the positive

By Zoe Gilks
June 14, 2023

I’ve written a couple of #successtips on complaints management and a masterclass, so here’s a very quick blog on why it’s not all doom and gloom when a customer complains.

As my success tip states; a customer who complains to you, is giving you a second chance to get it right.  Things do go wrong, most people are able to understand and accept it as part of life. Having the ability to value that customer telling you and the mechanisms in place to put it right for them is more likely to convert a potential detractor to a promoter for your business.  Tell your customer how to complain to you (and to give other feedback) so that you can actively show them how important their custom is to you and that you place their opinion and needs at the heart of your business.

Looking at complaints and feedback received; these give you real-time customer insight into your business.  Your customers are telling you where they believe your product or service doesn’t match their expectation.  Are your customers telling you something they perceive is mis-selling or mis-delivering?  Have you changed something that they now don’t like?  Are there any common complaint themes that you can action?  To understand this you do need to monitor and record complaints in a way that is categorised and structured so you can then analyse them and spot trends.  This is free market research specific to your business – utilise it…

For shorter term issues monitoring complaints may enable you to spot an emerging issue before it becomes realised.  Is there a change in what’s expected or a series of feedback or complaints under one theme – it enables you to identify, react and mitigate further complaints.

When designing change for the organisation it’s always good to reflect on past complaints in that area, what has worked and what hasn’t worked in your customers opinion.  Again this insight helps you align your change strategy to your customer and helps decision making by understanding your customers perspective.

Monitoring complaints should also help you forecast potential complaints and get your business lined up ready to handle them, both in type of complaint and volume.  No-one likes handling a complaint, but if your employees are prepared and know what to do – with the support of your leadership – it makes it a far less stressful situation.

So while things inevitably will go wrong some of the time, focussing on the understanding and delivery of good complaints management can create valued relationships and support the long term strategy and continuous improvement of your business.