We should strive to understand customers who are complaining because the feedback they bring can be of great importance to a company.
By Drake's director John-Paul Drake.
I love customer complaints.
It's true. Today it is difficult to 100% satisfy all of your customers, suppliers, team members, the media and even your own partner. To be an exceptional retailer, you need to make sure you're listening to the most important people in your company: your customers.
Nowadays customers have many contact points with us. You can contact us by phone, email, or social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, even through the old-fashioned face-to-face conversation.
Only one in 25 people who are unhappy about one aspect of a company will complain directly to that company. This means that there are 24 people who are unhappy but don't let this company know what they did wrong, and instead can stop dealing with them, go to another business, or, worst of all, other people from their experiences tell. However, this person who took the time to give you feedback is more valuable than the 24 people who were disappointed with your offer but did not tell you about it.
In the past few months, there have been so many examples of people not being satisfied with what we are doing or not doing during the COVID 19 pandemic. We have received a fair proportion of customer complaints: those who say that there are not enough safeguards in place in the store; those who are not satisfied with the cleaning measures we take; those who are frustrated with the lack of inventory due to nationwide shortages – for example (cough) toilet paper (cough).
It takes a great deal of humility to take this criticism into account. I must honestly say that reading about your vulnerabilities is not always easy. However, I understand that the customer gave me the feedback for a reason, and this feedback can be very helpful. This can change the development of our business. For this reason, we respond to every single complaint that is received. That's why I'm happy about complaints.
My tips for dealing with complaints:
- In most cases, people who complain are emotional and not rational. Do not take the complaint personally, but treat it as if it were personal. Then do what you need to do to fix the problem.
- People who complain want to be understood and accepted. You have to listen, listen, listen! You have two ears and one mouth for one reason: you should listen twice as much as you speak. Most importantly, make sure that the other person knows that you are listening. Repeat the complaint with the customer to show that you understand and then take appropriate measures to correct the situation. What brings us to:
- Tactical empathy. Consider the words used by the customer, the tone of those words, and body language. Recognize their perspective and make sure that you express this recognition.
- Do not try to defeat your counterpart. Make an effort to understand the customer. Complaints are not about winners and losers. If the customer loses, we do the same.
It is human nature to want to be heard and understood. Whether the complainant is right or wrong, we absolutely have to understand, not win.
I'm pretty sure that most people have complained about a business in one way or another. If you are one of these people, I am interested in whether you are informing many people, but not the company itself, about the problem you are having. Or did you do the right thing and went straight to the source? I would love to hear your thoughts. Hit me on the platforms below.
YouTube: jp drake
Instagram: @ ake.and.drake
Podcast: / DucksDontGetColdFeet
About John-Paul Drake
John-Paul Drake has retail in his blood. When Trolley Boy and a stacker started working in the family business 30 years ago, his passion for retail was firmly anchored as the director of Drakes Supermarkets. He is a staunch supporter of supporting the local population and is not afraid to call it what he sees it.