By Shep Hyken

Eliminate Customer Complaints… Switch Things Up!
21 November 2017 | 4:10 pm

“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results,” is a very famous quote by Albert Einstein. If you’re doing something and getting a negative result, it’s probably time to switch things up.

In other words, “Stop it!”

This quote reminds me of a video I saw once on YouTube, called “Stop It!” It features comedian Bob Newhart as a therapist. In the video, a patient comes to see him and explains a recurring fear, of being buried alive in a box, that she thinks about all the time. Remember, this video is meant to be funny. The simple solution he gives her is, “Stop it!”

We can say the same thing about customer service. There’s an exercise I sometimes do when I’m presenting on service where I ask audience members to tell me some of the common complaints they hear from customers. I then ask these same people how regularly they hear these complaints. I am amazed (not in a good way) when they answer saying that they hear some of these complaints daily. Some even say that they hear them several times a day! This is when it’s time for me to share the secret solution. I become serious, look at the audience, and say, “Are you ready to hear the solution?” I pause for dramatic effect, and then I say, “Stop it!”

The seriousness ends when everyone starts laughing. They laugh because they know it’s never that simple. If it were, they would have solved the problem long ago. Even though this is a joke, it is a set-up for a very serious conversation on how to eliminate, or at least minimize, the problems that are causing these complaints.

Is it a common occurrence for us to bother our customers with policies, rules, or processes? Just remember that there’s a good chance that there are more people with the same complaints than just the ones you are hearing from. These people simply aren’t letting you know about it.

When it comes to hearing complaints from your customers, the statistic most commonly shared is this: in an average business, for every complaint you receive, there are 26 others who have the same complaint, but choose not to tell you. Even if that stat is only half true, that’s still a lot of unhappy customers. And these are unhappy customers that you don’t even know about. You think they are happy because they don’t complain to you, but that is the furthest thing from the truth. They may choose to never do business with you again. Can you afford to take that chance?

Sit down with your team. Talk about the common complaints you get. Then, get to the root of it. What is driving that complaint? There is always a way to make it better. Bad things that are happening over and over again simply shouldn’t be happening over and over again. So… Stop it!

 

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