All businesses get complaints from customers. If they are handled well, they can be a valuable learning tool and can actually increase customer numbers.
Resolving a complaint can turn an upset customer into a loyal one who will promote the business to their friends. When a customer has a problem and you fix it, they will generally be more satisfied than if they never had a problem in the first place.
Complaints can also be a useful way of finding out how you can improve your business and services.
Research shows that around 96% of customers don't complain when they have a problem - they just don't come back. Since only 4% of unhappy customers complain, a business owner can make the mistake of assuming that nothing is wrong with the business. Complaints are your most effective feedback.
Consider increasing your customer feedback by:
- providing an easy way for them to give suggestions
- surveying customers
- displaying a complaint handling policy so that customers know complaints are welcome.
The easiest way to track problems in your business is to record all complaints. Ask your staff to log complaints in one place - a dedicated book, for example. You will soon start to see if patterns emerge.
If you don't handle customer complaints effectively it can cost your business money and reputation.
Usually customers will resort to the law only after they have tried to resolve their complaint by speaking to staff. If you don't deal with complaints quickly you can end up paying substantial compensation that could have been avoided.
Having a complaint handling policy and a procedure will ensure that all customers and their complaints are handled in the same way.
Our shops and services toolkit gives you more information about how to create a complaint handling policy and a procedure to help you deal with complaints.