Why you should welcome complaints!


If you have a poor experience in a restaurant and the waiter asks if everything has been OK what do you say? Most people will say “fine, thanks” then walk out vowing never to go back.

Research proves 96% of customers don’t tell you if they are not happy with your product or service. It also shows that 91% of them will take their business elsewhere.

So why welcome complaints? – because it’s direct customer feedback and pure gold for telling you what to do to grow your business. And it’s free!

The fastest growing companies don’t just welcome complaints – they encourage them. How? – by always asking for customer feedback in a structured way. They want to learn and improve, not just get a pat on the back!

To get the best feedback, always use an open question – one that begins with Who, How, What, Why or When. This is key because the customer can’t just respond with Yes or No.

Think back to the restaurant. If the waiter asks a closed question such as “Was everything OK?” most people “Yes”. It’s the easy option to take and they avoid conflict. The restaurant thinks they have another satisfied customer.

What if the waiter asks “What could we have done to improve”? It’s much easier for the customer to say what they weren’t happy about. It also gives the restaurant an opportunity to improve. And they can apologise and show the customer they care.

For example, a customer could say: “well, we thought the service was slow and we had to wait 10 minutes for the bill”. That shows a training need. A simple thing to fix which saves time and customers!


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