Customer Complaints Are the Gifts That Keep on Giving To Your Call Center

Call Center Customer Feedback

Customer complaints come into your call center every day, don’t they?

It’s like Christmas day, every day, when you have the pleasure of receiving all of the incredible gifts of complaints from your customers, right? No?

Actually, you ought to be grateful.

Yes, seriously.

Outstanding and awesome gifts of customer complaints are the gifts that keep on giving. Don’t you feel the love? Okay, maybe it’s not lovely. Maybe they don’t feel good. But, maybe they should. So, let’s reframe it this way: when a customer takes the time to complain, it means that the customer is still a customer. It is easy to overlook this truth, but writing-off a customer’s loyalty because a customer complains is a cop-out and bad business practice. The proper frame to use when a customer complains is to expect customer complaints and be grateful for the feedback.

Ah, feedback.

Viewing feedback as a gift on days when you are bombarded with “gifts” is not soothing, is it? It takes patience and life-experiences to give context to the feedback that one receives when that feedback is not complimentary. As a supervisor, are you generally receptive to all feedback? Do you appreciate the attention you receive through the purview of complaints? If not, it might be a good time to step back and take a vacation. If so, then how do you use the feedback as data to inform your overall customer service delivery?

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While you are considering feedback as data, consider that with every complaint, your line of business gets another opportunity to make another sale, keep a customer and become heroic in the eyes of the customer. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. As a customer, you know it’s satisfying when you receive the kind of resolution you were seeking. When your expectations are met, you are happy. Why? Because you know how the system works, from the inside out. In fact, you didn’t want to make that call initially because you know what goes on in a call center when a customer calls and complains. C’mon, tell the truth. Furthermore, it’s the last thing you want to do on your day off. But you know, this scenario is golden; it gives you all you need to know about the usefulness of customer complaints.

When a customer call into your call center and complains, you are wise to realize the state of mind of your customer. He or she is probably enjoying their day off when a problem arises and s/he has to make that dreaded call to who-knows-where. Also, you have a duty to make sure that the complaint is heard. Training your agents to hear a frown or a smile on the phone is an art. It requires focus and awareness. It requires a mindset. Making sure that all of the information is properly received and to confirm that it is understood gives you tremendous leverage. Remember, it’s not just data. It is words on a page that describe what it takes to keep the customer, and what it takes to make another sale.

That’s right. Another sale.?

Keeping a customer who has already spent money means everything in business. It means that the customer is no longer a prospect, like every one else in the world. It means that the customer is a believer. And, when the customer makes another purchase, it means that the customer is loyal. A trend has begun. You now have a list of repeat customers, those who are convinced that their time and money are worth the investment they made into you and your product and/or service. You delivered. You have become a Santa-like hero who has earned the right to ask for a referral.

Referrals are expressions of positive, word-of-mouth actions taken by satisfied customers. They can describe the experience of the customers such that they useful in persuading prospects to consider investing their time and money into your product and/or service. On the other hand, negative word-of-mouth complaints from dissatisfied customers can lead to the loss of future business with that customer and potential, future business with those prospects that the customer knows. In fact, it is likely that if you matter enough to your former customer, your former customer will be telling his friends (your prospects) about his negative experience with you, resulting in irreparable damage to lost profits and earnings.

What’s worse? (Is there a worse? Yes, there is.)

It’s a silent killer.

What’s worse is when a customer walks away from your products and/or service silently. S/he moves on with life and never says a word to you. Oh, you can be sure that s/he will tell his/her family and friends about the negative experience. But, when you don’t even have a chance to address the dissatisfaction, you’re in trouble. You are in trouble because you don’t know the complaint. You don’t have the data to make an informed decision as to how to correct the problem. And, worse, your competitor will likely receive that coveted information from your (former) customer about your problem. Sounds like the makings of an illicit affair, doesn’t it?

Make it your affair to know your customer complaints. Recognize the extraordinary gifts of feedback you receive when you have the opportunity to make and keep customers for life. They are the gifts that keep on giving to your call center.

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?To Your Success,

Greg Meares

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About the Author: Greg Meares

As a Sr. Consultant for Performance Connections, Inc., Greg's primary objective is to provide value to organizations that are focused on raising brand awareness. Additionally Greg works on improving the customer experience, through business process re-engineering, and call center best practices. Greg is an industry expert and is often called upon to provide his analysis and solution oriented approach to improving performance in the BPO and Call Center industry.

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