No matter the size of your organisation, it’s likely you’ll receive the odd grumble or raised concern from your customers. Naturally, these customer complaints can feel demoralising. You’ve worked tirelessly to produce a product or provide a service, only to learn that something’s not been up to standard.
Though they can be hard to hear, customer complaints are, in fact, an invaluable insight into your business. They pinpoint exactly what it is that didn’t go perfectly for your exact target audience: the people who buy, and are currently buying, from you. Grasping that information, and understanding what it means for your processes, has huge potential.
If a client receives a complaint, there are three things we do first here at Propolis Process Solutions:
Find out where the problem lies
It’s easy to lose track of your procedures and policies if you don’t have a clear process plan in place. Without a good process, it’s not always clear where the problem lies if, or when, things go wrong. For example, a recent client was increasingly concerned about the number of cancelled orders and questions about quality of goods. It wasn’t initially apparent where the problem sat. Yet after time spent working through past issues and assessing processes in place, it soon became clear there was a production issue. Understanding what the process was here, then refreshing and rectifying it, uncovered and reduced the problem. Stock levels improved, and Trustpilot reviews went up.
Knowing where the issue arose means you can put fresh plans in place that keep track of that part of the process. Not only does that make it easier to highlight if the concern is raised again, but it also reduces the likelihood of the problem happening in the first place as clear processes are followed by everyone involved.
Make processes clear to everyone
When complaints come in, it’s easy to look for blame in different departments or partnership companies. This is particularly true if your business relies on a third party to dispatch and deliver goods. And, of course, it’s only when a customer receives – or doesn’t receive – a product that a complaint comes to light.
It’s here that a customer complaint can give you the encouragement you need to evaluate your dispatch processes. Look at what’s happening and the systems you have in place. If you’ve received a complaint, it’s likely these systems are not clear and consistent, and not being used properly. Tighten up the process and reduce your complaints – and boost your feedback and your sales.
Build customer communication into processes
Market research, focus groups, surveys, or simply repeat purchases: there are multiple ways you’re likely to be searching for the customer feedback that drives the work you do. Through a complaint, customer feelings and responses are immediate and relevant. So it’s vital you listen to them and understand their thoughts.
Making a customer feel heard is important. Yet to make real change, incorporate these responses into your sales process. Don’t simply close the process with delivery. Add customer follow-ups into your schedule: what did they like about working with you, or buying from you? What do they feel you could have done better? Would they purchase again, and why? Not only does this give you crucial insight you need, but it also makes customers feel heard, valued and more likely to buy again.
Receiving a complaint isn’t unusual. Yet it’s crucial you overcome the disappointment and frustration your customers feel and take their feedback to make a change. Hear their thoughts and use them to assess and improve your processes, and in turn grow your profits.
Whether you’re unsure about the source of your complaint, need more systems training to overcome issues, or simply require an objective assessment of your business’ processes, get in touch with Sarah at Propolis Process Solutions: firstname.lastname@example.org.