10 Reasons Why Customer Complaints Are Good News

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By Ron Kaufman

When things go wrong, your customers will complain. Surprisingly, this can be good for you and constructive for your organization.

Here are 10 ways customer complaints can benefit you and your organization.

1. Identify Vital Areas for Service Improvement

  • Customer complaints highlight key areas where your product needs improving, your systems need updating or your service needs upgrading.
  • Customer complaints can identify staff members who need more training, a refresher course, or closer supervision.
  • Customer complaints help you monitor service levels and consistency between shifts, departments, locations and teams.

2. Identify Needed Improvement in Policies and Procedures

  • Customer complaints help you identify where your current policies and procedures are inconvenient or unclear or simply not needed.

3. Improve Customer Communication

  • Complaints from customers can point out vital information that is lacking, erroneous or out of date.

4. Keep Senior Management Informed

  • Customer complaints often elevate important news straight to the top. Leaders and senior management learn quickly about service issues of importance to your customers.

5. Improve Your Service Education

  • Customer complaints give you valuable content and insightful case studies for your service education programs.
  • Customer complaints also provide rich information to publish for your staff members to read – with your replies, improvements and recovery action steps.

6. Fuel for an Uplifting Service Culture

  • Complaints can work as a trigger for taking new action and catalyzing positive change.
  • Sharing customer complaints throughout the organization educates everyone to understand what your customers experience, expect and insist upon receiving.
  • Complaints prevent complacency. New problems keep humility high and teammates on their toes.
  • Logging and frequently reviewing customer complaints enables you to focus the organization’s attention, priorities and budget.

7. Find New Business Opportunities

  • The things customers complain about may present new business opportunities for increasing revenue, reducing operational costs, solving problems and increasing value.

8. Obtain Competitive Intelligence

  • Customer comments and complaints (particularly those along the lines of “company ABC does it this way) can provide you with valuable competitive intelligence, letting you know what others are doing that you are not (yet).

9. Understand Your Customers Better

  • When customers complain, you learn which customers are willing to speak up. These customers can (and should) be invited to participate in customer focus groups, surveys, panels, beta-tests, on-site visits and other research activities.

10. Build Customer Loyalty

  • Customer complaints provide an opportunity to reply, respond and win back customer loyalty.
  • Most upset customers simply walk away and then complain about you to their friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family members. Those who complain are giving you another chance!

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About the author: Ron Kaufman is one of the best customer service motivational keynote speakers and most sought-after educators, consultants, business thought-leaders and on the topic of achieving superior service. Ron is Founder and Chairman of Uplifting Service, one of the world’s best customer service culture building development programs, currently translated into 15 languages for use by clients in every major industry. Ron is author of the New York Times bestseller Uplifting Service, and is ranked #1 Global Customer Service Guru in the world.