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Sometimes we are so intent on doing our jobs, that we can’t understand customer complaints. And we fail to make the product and service improvements we need to beat the competition.

It’s natural, we know we are doing a good job within the constraints of our business. So, when a customer complains we resolve their concern and move on. But that isn’t enough. You can take each complaint as an opportunity to improve your performance and offering. An opportunity to improve your financial performance.

Negative feedback falls into two camps. Products and services that perform badly, and ideas you could use to get ahead of the competition. It follows that product and service improvements can increase customer satisfaction and boost your innovations.

A bad job done well?

When your customers complain, do you feel they don’t understand your service or way of working? Have you (like many others) fallen into the frustration that customers ask for something they don’t (in your humble opinion) need? Are you following a process, but not getting the plaudits you deserve?

Most customer complaints come from the design of products and services. Paying attention to these complaints can turn around performance.

I worked for a company whose product was being returned to a catalogue shop with the reason ‘wrong colour’. It only came in one colour and everyone assumed the customers (or store staff) were mistaken. I talked to customers in other shops and they told me our product looked dirty. I gathered more information. Then, I worked out the cost of the returns and highlighted the potential for lost sales. The company recoloured their whole product range 18 months ahead of schedule and ‘wrong colour’ complaints faded away.

Looking at the data with an analyst’s eye ignores pre-conceptions and the wrong kind of self-belief

If you have a list of complaints, website feedback or call centre comments, I will analyse the data. You will get recommendations for product and service improvements and an indication of benefits. You can expect one-off cash savings, recurring revenue enhancements, time savings and quality improvements – eg reduced product returns,  improved customer satisfaction, higher ratings on Feefo, etc.

Or maybe you don’t have the data. I can use a product or service to give you structured feedback – a secret shopper, if you will. Or perhaps you would prefer real users to conduct a trial? In both cases, I will organise the trial, assess the findings and write a full report.

Even if your feedback is ‘okay’ or ‘good’ you will benefit from a review. Scratch that, if your feedback is ‘okay’ or ‘good’ we can propel you into the big time.

Seeing feedback as your next adventure

Years ago my credit card provider blocked my card when I was travelling in the US for business. I was pretty unhappy and called the provider when I got home. The conversation went a little like this:

“What I want, is to tell you I am going overseas so that you don’t stop me checking into my hotel after half a day of travelling”

“But we can’t do that, because if your card was used fraudulently you would be liable”

Putting aside that the operator invented a reason to justify poor service. This conversation could have led to the credit card company getting ahead of the competition. Instead, they lost a customer. By the way, my next provider didn’t let me tell them I was travelling either. But an operator promised to pass on the feedback, so I signed up.

Stepping back from the ‘day job’ values the innovations recommended by customers

Do you have a way for your customer-facing staff to tell you what customers are saying? Is it working? I can build and prove a process for identifying incremental improvements in your offering and the next big thing.

From collecting and analysing the data, to proposing improvements I work with your team. We will recommend changes and progress the changes through your change management system. Or perhaps you have nothing in place and want a customer feedback process that works? I can deliver that too.

Picture credits

Icons by Nikita Golubov, Retinaicons, Freepik, DinosoftLabs, Eucalyp, Gregor Cresnar, Madebyoliver and Vectors Market on Flaticon.

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