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The Complaint Department is Open

by Robert Garment, Executive Editor | March 08, 2006
Customer complaints are part of every business - and there's only one thing you can do about them.
When it comes to dealing with customer complaints, you need to face the problem head on and deal with it forthrightly. You need to have a scheme which encourages, not discourages, customers to complain.

Many surveys have found that nine out of ten people do not complain to the provider when they feel dissatisfied. But every one of these people will tell at least a couple of their friends or business associates, and they'll trash your company with zeal. If you think you can sweep customer complaints "under the rug," you're fooling yourself. They will fester and spread and come back to hurt your business - sometime severely.

It is imperative that you capture these complaints in order to:
- Put at ease and give explanation or reassurance to the person complaining.
- Reduce the chances of them complaining to someone else.
- Monitor exactly how many dissatisfied customers you have and what the causes are, and that's even more important if you're failing to deliver your mission statement or service offer!
- Take appropriate corrective action to prevent a recurrence.

Most organizations now have complaints escalation procedures, whereby very dissatisfied customers can be handled by more senior staff. This principle needs extending as far as possible, especially to ensure that strategic intelligent complaints and constructive feedback (all immensely useful) are handled by someone in the company who has suitable strategic appreciation and authority to recognize the issue and act appropriately.

There's another reason to resolve complaints quickly if you're a DOTmed user: our 5-Start Rating System. While not everyone who's unhappy with a transaction will give you an "unsatisfactory" rating, some will. And those ratings are public for everyone to see - and you don't want to get any 1-Star Ratings..."ouch."

Conversely, if you handle a problem adeptly, you might actually get a positive rating for be responsive. And of course, you should ask every satisfied customer to rate you on the "plus" side.

Now, if you have any complaints about this week's column, tough taffy -- the Complaint Department is Closed! (See? That's the wrong way to treat customers) What I meant to say was, please drop me a line and I will get back to you as soon as possible. We value your business here at DOTmed.