Why Complaints are more important than Sales

Why Complaints are more important than Sales

By: Nikos Christoforou

You spent your money, savings, time, and effort to build a business that offers a product or service that you believe people will want to buy.

You hire other people to help you handle the work, service the clients, make the product, transfer the goods, and count the money. You hire more people to advertise your company.

Then a customer comes over with a complaint, an issue. You treat him like a thief who wants to make money from you. A ‘low-life’ who wants to pay for a 20-year-old mini-van and get in return a new supercar. ‘No way my friend, I will bury you in so much paperwork, phone calls, and procedures that you will regret it’ you think, smiling. Your arsenal has a lot of weapons, ammunition, lawyers, and layers. Your client has his own. Let the battle begin.

You are an idiot.

Why a complaint has more value than a sale

  1. A complaining customer is already a customer.

    After screening many of your competitors he chose your company, product or service, paid you, and used what you offered him. His complaint might be right or wrong but merely the fact that he is a current customer should tell you a lot. You spent all that money in marketing, advertising, and sales just to let a complaint blow them away? You shouldn’t. Treat him with your best attitude, best people, best service. Address the issue, fix it, and then get back to him to make sure the problem is solved. Win that customer over, again.

  2. An unhappy customer is ten times louder than a happy customer.

    On the internet/social media era we all live in, where everyone has a voice and people are fast to judge hiding behind a Facebook name or Twitter account, businesses cannot afford bad publicity. A simple complaint can easily get out of control and spill all over your company, your employees, associates, and other customers. As people have an inert tendency to seek and magnify bad news over good news, so is the modern society eager to bury a ’greedy corporation’, a ‘bad manager’, or a ‘bad product’. Address the problem before it goes out of control.

  3. Your competitors view complaints as a cost.

    You should view them as an opportunity. By quickly and correctly handling a complaint you may be able to get an advantage over your competitor who views these issues as an extra cost. Your rivals may hide their support functions behind paperwork, auto-responders, and employees with low authority. You shouldn’t. you should assign your best people to handle problems, people who know your company, your products, and the true value of clients. A quick and correct response can turn the cost into profit.

  4. Feedback.

    If a customer has an issue the chances are that others customers have encountered the same issue but simply chose not to mention it. Complaints are the perfect ‘excuse’ to get feedback from clients and to use that feedback to improve your products, your people, procedures. Why wait until you start seeing declining sales alerts from your accounting department if you can fix it before it happens?

I cannot recall any company or industry that is complaint-free, from the simplest everyday-use cheap products to expensive cars, software or professional services. Maybe the client is wrong, but that doesn’t mean he can’t complain and talk about it. Stay ahead of him and more importantly, take advantage of him.

You should view every single complaint as an opportunity to improve your company, not a threat. This is not War. This is Business. And in Business, where ‘Cash is King’, the customers hold the King by the balls.

To view more articles by Nikos Christoforou click here.

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