25 February 2007

What do people expect when they make a complaint?

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We all make mistakes from time to time. When it comes to running a business, these mistakes can lead to a customer complaint. In this blog I would like to give you my views on what customers expect when they make a mistake. From my experience a well handled complaint can be resolved quickly with little or no long term damage but it takes take some time and the right attitude.

By knowing what your customers expect you may develop a greater understanding of the complaint process and the ways to resolve all complaints quickly and fairly. Customers expect most of the following whenever a complaint is made:

1. To be treated with respect (acknowledgement that their business is important and so is the issue they are raising)
2. They want to be heard. Let them say what it is they need to get off their chest, even if it is unfair or even wrong. Interupting, being aggressive or trying to dismiss them will only make matters worse.
3. The ability to deal with someone in authority, who can resolve the complaint quickly
4. The complaint to be taken seriously (not just another whinging customer)
5. Receiving an explanation of how a particular problem happened
6. Being called back when promised
7. Being given progress reports if a problem can’t be resolved on the spot
8. Being given options to resolve a problem
9. Receiving a sincere apology when an error is made
10. An assurance that the problem will not happen again.

As business owners and operators it is easy to be defensive when a customer makes a complaint but we should all be grateful, because it gives us the opportunity to do something about it. Unfortunately most complaints are never voiced, the customer simply takes their business elsewhere and along the way they tell their friends to avoid your business.

Look at every complaint as an opportunity to save these customers and the people in their sphere of influence. Very few businesses handle complaints well – if your business does you will enjoy the benefits.

6 thoughts on “What do people expect when they make a complaint?”

  1. Jean says:

    What do people expect when they make a complaint? Usually a refund… unfortunately! *big smile* I have been following along Andrew… great advice!
    btw I sorted out my spam problem… well at least… so far so good!

  2. Ashley says:

    I’m really impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one today..

  3. donald says:

    Hi there would you mind stating which blog
    platform you’re using? I’m looking to start my own blog in
    the near future but I’m having a hard time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m
    looking for something unique. P.S My apologies for being off-topic
    but I had to ask!

  4. Hello there,

    It is WordPress back end, custom designed by my web developers.

    Cheers,
    Andrew

  5. Hello! This post could not be written any better! Reading
    this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept chatting about this.
    I will forward this write-up to him. Pretty sure he will
    have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

  6. crispina says:

    good writting skills

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Andrew Griffiths is Australia's #1 small business author with 12 best selling books now sold in over 60 countries. He's a writing and publishing expert, an international speaker and leading business advisor with over 20 years' experience. Andrew presents around the world and is considered an expert in entrepreneurship and an authority on building a profile. He is a thought leader through writing, publishing and speaking and is featured regularly in mainstream global media.

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