How to Deal with Customer Complaints

I just read about the grandmother who lived out the fantasies of many of us when dealing with poor customer service. In case you missed it the Hammerin’ Granny really took it out on Comcast.

What a way to find out about an unhappy customer! Would Comcast have benefited from a customer satisfaction survey? Maybe. Maybe not. It isn’t any secret that Comcast is historically renowned for being less than responsive to customer needs. The challenge for Comcast going forward, as it is for all of us, is knowing how to react to customer complaints and suggestions. Many first reactions involve getting defensive, citing specific policies you have in place, and trying to marginalize the complainer as just “a bad seed.” However, this doesn’t help alleviate the next complaint,?? or keep your company’s name off the front page and out of the blogosphere.  In fact, taking a defensive posture can often make you look far worse than if you are forthcoming about some of the challenges you’ve had in the past.

Some of the most important things you can do when trying to improve the quality of your customer satisfaction include: identifying short and long-term milestones for improvement, having clear strategies and institutional support, and holding people internally accountable. Does that mean linking salaries, or their jobs, to improving customer satisfaction? Not necessarily. But those working with customers need to know who is responsible for improvements (everyone thinks it is the other guy). They need to know that their efforts to improve customer satisfaction are appreciated. As someone once said, “It’s always better to be the hammer than the nail”. 

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