March 12, 2011
Last summer, my son needed a haircut so I took him to a local salon. After waiting only a few minutes, I said to the receptionist, “It’s freezing in here.
“She replied, “I know. Our customers are always complaining that it’s too cold.”
“Why don’t you turn down the air conditioning?” I asked.
“The owner likes it this way, otherwise she feels too warm.”
The climate of the building needs to be set with the comfort of the customers in mind. If your customers complain about being too hot or cold, adjust the settings.
A few days later I went to my bank to make a deposit. All the pens attached to the chains were out of ink. I had to wait several minutes to get an employee’s attention so I could request a pen. I said, “All the pens are dry.”
“I know.” She said. “Our customers are always telling us that our pens are out of ink.”
Banking customers need pens. When they’re chained to the counter, it’s a message to customers that they cannot be trusted. These are the same customers who are trusting the bank with their money! Plus, there’s no point in providing pens if they are out of ink. Why not provide a tray of pens with the company name, website, and phone number on them? That way, if customers do take one along, it will provide them with easy access to important information about the bank.
Fix the root cause of the problem.
Think about the times when your customers have complained about an inconvenience. There is a great opportunity for improvement if you have ever responded, “I know. Our customers complain about that all the time.” Customer complaints are process improvement alerts. If several customers complain, it creates a great opportunity for your team to improve on methods for delivering exceptional service. When a business hears the same complaint from more than one customer, it’s time to identify and fix the root cause of the problem.
If you know that something is annoying your customers, change it. Otherwise, they will eventually go away. Customers are too valuable to ignore their feedback. There is no point in listening to your customer’s complaint if nothing is going to be done to correct the issue. Dealing with the same complaints, again and again, creates frustration and employee apathy. It is also a considerable waste of employee time that could be better-spent building positive relationships with customers.