Learn from the bad stuff

Regular readers of my blog will know that I am passionate about good customer service.  I tell you when it was good and equally importantly I tell you when it’s bad.

Constructive feedback is absolutely essential to all businesses if they want to improve and grow and is a two-way process.  Constructive feedback needs to be given in such a way that demonstrates the issue factually and if possible offers a solution.  In turn it is incumbent upon the recipient to accept the feedback and resolve to take action.

If only it were that simple!  I’m not going to bore you with the statistics about happy/unhappy customers – we all know they are there.  The aggressive customer shouting, or the passive one mumbling under their breath.  Unfortunately, neither of these types of customers are going to come back again – we’re probably grateful that Mr Loud doesn’t come back and we didn’t even notice that Mrs Invisible was sat in the corner equally unhappy - so we won’t miss her anyway!

Well, we won’t miss her right up until we are scratching our heads wondering why our sales/occupancy/turnover has taken a very speedy trip down South!  At this point we are probably thinking that maybe we should have tried a little harder with Mr Loud and to find out why Mrs Invisible didn’t ever come back.

We are all so caught up searching for the holy grail of customers that are happy with what we do.  We forget that we can learn far more from what we do wrong than what we do right.  Because, guess what?  You’re already making your happy customers happy and they will probably come back anyway.  Also, your happy customers are even less likely to tell anybody about you!!   Both those things aside - positive reinforcement for what you do right is always a good thing.   However, even more importantly perhaps is the need to understand what would make your unhappy customers happy.  Finally, once you’ve found that information out you actually need to act on it.  Consider your options, conduct a trial.  If it works that’s great – make sure you tell everybody that you received the feedback and what you’ve done about it to improve things.  It is doesn’t work – that’s okay too.  Tell everybody you tried it but why it didn’t work.

Be prepared to modify and improve.  It is as Charles Darwin once said:

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent.
It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”