When customers complain, grab a pencil
My colleague collects complaints.
She works in a retail business that actively solicits customer opinions with comment cards and surveys. Occasionally, one of those cards yields a complaint and she springs into action.
Her plan is always the same: she invites the customer to have a cup of coffee to discuss the complaint. She listens, takes notes, questions for clarification, asks for specific examples and then checks that she has understood.
She then does two things that are gold dust. First, she asks the customer for a suggestion as to how the issue could be resolved or improved, and then she thanks the customer and offers a small token of appreciation like a complimentary coffee.
Every time a customer complains, she gets a ‘free’ idea. It’s innovation on the cheap. Her customers have often thought through a problem and come up with a better way to do things.
The improvement can save time, money or deliver a better level of service. When it’s implemented, not only does she impress all her customers who benefit from the innovation, but she gains a life-long champion ‘innovator’ who returns again and again often with more ideas.
Cost: a coffee and a comment card.
Benefit: innovation delivering benefits that customer’s value.
It’s the oldest trick in the book but one that we often forget. When customers complain, don’t get a upset – just ask them for your next practical innovation.
Posted by Frank Nigriello on April 11, 2012 | Comments Off