Why Complaints Are Gifts

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    Let’s face it; it’s no fun when someone complains. Some people, the saying goes, just like to complain. Best to give them what they want and send them away, right? Not really. Complaints can provide such valuable market feedback that you’ll want to include strategies in your business plan for dealing with them. Most of the time, when customers complain, there’s a germ of truth — and useful information — in what they say.

    My father-in-law, a former business executive of a large communications company, says his company viewed complaints as invaluable market information that was often more useful than focus groups, and MUCH cheaper. Customer feedback is how you build your business.

    Think of every complaint as a learning opportunity.

    Take the time to listen, carefully, not only to what they’re saying, but what this tells you about how they perceive your company, your products, and your competitors. Within that information, in combination with the complaints from other customers, lies answers to how you can change your business to get and keep even more customers satisfied and coming back for more. And no, the customer is not always right, but remember in their mind they are. They just might know something about how to make your company and its products even better.

    So, if you handle each complaint well, by listening well, responding well, asking good questions, taking good notes, and addressing their genuine concerns as best as you are able, you increase the odds that that customer will come back. And very possibly recommend you to all their friends and colleagues.

    That’s advertising you can’t buy.

    Good luck!

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    For more resources, see our Library topic Business Planning.