Ignoring customer complaints is a poor judgement call and in time will cost your business dearly, not only lost business but reputation.
In a previous post we dealt with how quickly a customer complaint can be made in 2015 and it was no coincidence that we used the image of a bullet. Following on from feedback from the blog post it became clear that there is a yawning gap between those companies that deal with customer complaints and those that ignore them for one reason or another.
What is patently clear is that any small business worth its salt cares abut customer complaints but here’s the nub of the issue; not all of them understand how to deal with customer complaints and even more importantly, they don’t have procedures in place for staff to follow in the event of a customer complaint. All the hard work in building a small business can come undone, all for want of a process to handle customer complaints.
The way your customers buy from you is very important. If the buying experience is frustrating or difficult, a customer may not even complete their first purchase, let alone return. Just as frustrating is holding important data about them that is wrong or lost. The following are some tips for your systems and processes:
- Record customer service standards and relate them back to business goals.
- Include the best point-of-sale software systems and other relevant technologies you can afford.
- Reward customers with a customer loyalty scheme.
- Record client details in a customer relationship management (CRM) database.
- Seek post-sale feedback from clients.
- Establish a customer complaints policy.
- Recognise and reward staff behaviour that you want to encourage.
- Review recruitment practices to ensure you employ the right front-line staff.
- Include a staff training programme and review staff performance regularly.
- Ask key staff what they already do to provide good customer service.
- Encourage ideas, suggestions and observations from all staff.
As you can see from the above list, establishing a customer complaints policy is but one of a list of 11 highly recommend practices that you take on board. You should recognise the interrelated nature of the list and how much better your business would perform if you were to adopt as many as is feasibly possible.
Ignore customer complaints at your peril in this super connected world. Word-of-mouth is now amplified beyond our comprehension and no backtracking can undo the damage of an ignored customer complaint – it travels twice as fast as a speeding bullet.
Check out our Customer Service Guide for Small Businesses, it’s a great read and will give you the practical advice you need to build a customer service policy for your business.