Receive customer complaints? Turn them into useful insight!

As a business, it’s easy to hone in on positive feedback and use this to promote your products or services. But negative feedback should not be overlooked — in fact,  it can often be the most useful feedback of all.

Here’s how to turn complaints into something positive, and how to streamline processes, reduce errors, retain more customers and drive continual improvement as you do it:

Understand the reasons behind a complaint

It is important to remember that people don’t like complaining – they do it because you have in some way annoyed or frustrated them.

When you are faced with a complaint, listen to what has happened and take the time to make a genuine, personal apology.

On average, it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one bad experience — but you can make a start on this with your apology.

Craft an efficient Customer Complaints policy

Keep these five top tips in mind when setting up and operating your customer complaints policy:

  1. You need to make sure complaints are handled confidentially, fairly and promptly – Studies have shown that 78% of customers have cancelled a purchase because of a poor customer service experience.
  2. Staff need to make sure they are courteous to the person complaining, respond promptly and offer constructive solutions – News of a bad customer service experience can reach twice as many ears as praise for a good service
  3. Formal written complaints need to be recorded, acknowledged within an agreed time period and communicated to the people responsible for managing the business — good team communication is vital if you want to reduce repeat incidents
  4. Your complaints procedure or policy should be displayed publicly on your website and communicated with customers and staff . The easier it is for customers to reach you, the easier it is for you to keep them happy. New customers are 6-7 times more expensive to acquire than returning ones
  5. Feedback should be monitored, evaluated and reviewed regularly. If you do not review and evaluate your feedback, you could be missing opportunities to improve your internal processes and increase the productivity of your business

Remember: Customer satisfaction is key in ISO 9001

Customer feedback and information gathering plays a vital role in the ISO 9001 requirements and is included in section 5.1.2 (customer focus), section 8.7 (control of nonconforming outputs), section 9 (performance evaluation) and section 10 (improvement) – so it’s pretty important you get it right!