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Encourage Complaints To Improve Customer Service

By: Ron Kaufman



Some companies track a monthly “complaints and compliments ratio” for each branch, store, department, country or station. This approach has a fundamental flaw when it comes to customer service training.

Here’s why: 
A complaints and compliments ratio encourages staff to actively avoid or suppress written complaints from customers. After all, every written complaint will impact the ratio to their disadvantage. This means any lessons that could be used to improve customer service training might be lost.
For example, if your station gets 3 compliments and 0 complaints, and my station has 6 compliments and 3 complaints, whose station has a better ratio? Yours has, of course.
But which station is gathering more written feedback from customers? Which station is harnessing more input, suggestions, responses and reactions for detailed review and better customer service training? Mine!
I agree that staff should do whatever they can to satisfy customers right away, but they should also encourage customers to write down and submit their comments quickly and easily.
This real-time “voice of the customer” feedback should be circulated widely within the organization and carefully studied by all departments for improve customer service training. Such direct input can provide valuable insights and better understanding of current, and changing, customer expectations.
When comments filtered through managers replace direct commentary written by customers, subtle nuances may be lost. Don’t let this happen to you.
Instead of a complaints and compliments ratio, try using a “comments from customers ratio.” With this approach, gathering bountiful customer input is more important – and rewarded – than suppressing customer complaints.
Key Learning Point To Improve Customer Service Training
Written feedback from customers is priceless especially to improve customer service training. It gives you unvarnished input you can study, circulate and discuss to improve customer service training. Instead of penalizing your staff for complaints, praise them for actively seeking input and ideas from the folks who know you best – your customers.
Action Steps To Improve Customer Service Training
Design a small, attractive Customer Comment Card that is simple and easy to use. On one side print “Thank you for letting us know” with a blank area for their comments. On the other side, provide space for your customer’s name and contact information (optional).
Place the cards where customers will easily find them: on counters, in packaging, etc. Give cards to all staff members and encourage them to seek out customers’ comments.
Track the volume of written input over time. Run a contest to increase the flow. Set a standard for the minimum number of customer comments each month. Use the feedback to improve customer service training for the benefit of all.
Copyright, Ron Kaufman. Used with permission.
Published: July 9, 2013

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Ron Kaufman

Ron Kaufman is the world’s leading educator and motivator for upgrading customer service and uplifting service culture. He is author of the bestselling "UP! Your Service" books and founder of UP! Your Service. To enjoy more customer service training and service culture articles, visit UpYourService.com.

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