1. Complaints are a form of engagement with your target market. If you’re not getting complaints, it’s not because you have a perfect service. Quite the opposite. Your unhappy customers are instead seeking engagement with others through word of mouth, telling them how bad your service is.
2. Complaints are an opportunity to create your biggest fans. The first step towards satisfied customers is engagement, even if it’s negative. Well-handled complaints can create the most loyal customers. Confront it head-on and go beyond your customers' expectations.
3. Complaints expose blind spots in the quality of your service. Try as hard as you can and you still won’t be able to see all of the quality issues in your practice. Customers will pick up problems that you had no vision of and illuminate the cracks. Thanks for that!
4. Complaints are diagnostic. It’s important to dig deeper into all complaints. People who have taken the time to complain almost always have time to offer you more feedback if you provide it to them. Often they are the type of people who just want to help you raise the standards of service. Take their concerns on face value and then compare the reality of your customers’ experience with your perception of it. This can be confronting but is always worthwhile.
5. Complaints create a feedback loop. If you’re continually getting the same complaints, previous corrective measures have clearly not worked. It’s time to try something different, in the way you run that part of your service, in the way you engage customers in that part of your service, or both.
6. Complaints are humbling. The best service in the world still has room for improvement. Taking complaints seriously means never resting on your laurels. Maybe you've never had time to think about this issue before and you are lucky to have this person on your team as a "quality improvement volunteer".
7. Complaints teach you how to make complaints. Your service is itself a customer of other services. Being on the receiving end of complaints is an invaluable lesson in how to make effective complaints that achieve the best outcomes for you as a customer. Take away the best of how you were treated and vow not to use any of the strategies that made you feel "less than".
8. Complaints are therapeutic for customers. The simple act of acknowledging a complaint makes customers feel heard and valued. You may not be able to do anything about the complaint but just listening may be enough. Cheap therapy.
9. Complaints are therapeutic for employees. Well-handled complaints can be a team-building exercise. Chances are that some of your team members have noticed this problem with your service and are worried about it themselves. Getting it out into the open and making attempts to fix it is therapeutic for them.
10. Complaints can be amusing. I’m not suggesting you laugh at a serious complaint. But trivial complaints expressed in an amusing way can lighten an otherwise dreary day and make dealing with the more serious complaints easier. We once had a student continuously complain that they couldn't log in and it eventuated that they were trying to do it through the website of one of the colleges we are affiliated with rather than ours. Now I always start with "Which website are you on, can you read it to me please?".