Turning Customer Complaints Into Gold Part 2 – Deeper Understanding of Customers

Continuing the Turning Customer Complaints Into Gold series, this is part 2, Understanding your customers at a deeper level.

A brief outline of the topics that are part of this series:

  1. Embrace Complaints
  2. Dive deeper in understanding your customers
  3. Define and implement an engagement strategy
  4. Create new benefits that will better serve your customers
  5. Build a retention program that encompasses your engagement strategy and new benefit offerings

Today, I’ll be going over #2 Dive Deeper.

One of the major pieces of the puzzle is knowing your customers at a deeper level. Customer complaints is a tool that will help you gain a better understanding of what makes your customer “tick”.

This is an opportunity to start a dialogue and have a meaningful conversation to open the door into their main concerns.

Customers have different pain thresholds before they log a complaint. For example, some customers may tolerate a few inconveniences and others will call in for everything, the spectrum is wide.

For this topic, I’d like to focus on the segment where they tolerate a few inconveniences before they become a complaint statistic…ever heard “the straw that broke the camel’s back” phrase?

When you open up with this segment, you’ll learn that there is a lot more to the reason they called in. We’ve all read about being empathetic; however, let’s take this opportunity to peel the layers back and get a full understanding of their experience with your product and services.

  • What other negative experiences with our product/service did you have?
  • What would you do to improve our product/service?
  • How often do you use our product/service?
  • Many more questions that you can come up with…

Caution…don’t come across as a survey taker. If the customer feels that way, they will shut down and focus on just wanting their particular issue resolved and be done.

One way that I believe will help you not come across as a survey taker is to be upfront with the customer with their initial issue. Meaning that if you received 100 complaints about this same exact issue, let the caller know that and that you’re doing whatever you can to resolve it.

Don’t forget to implement Net Promoter Score (NPS) at some point with your customers to have some scale on your customer satisfaction. The above questions (and any others that you come up with) will put your NPS into context.

From there transition to seeing what else they have faced or are facing that you can start resolving for them.

Ok, so now you’re asking deeper questions and you’re becoming a trusted advisor…now what?

Now you have more insightful data that you can use to begin analyzing and segmenting the issues creating the foundation for strategic pivoting, introducing new products/services, and enhancing your engagement programs.

Customer segmentation is an exhaustive exercise that is well worth the effort. Start small and then get more granular so that it does not overwhelm you from the beginning and this phased approach will ensure that you don’t drown in data thus paralyzing you from any meaningful action.

This understanding of your customers over time begins to set you apart from your competition. The next time a customer wants to review you against another company (yes, no matter how loyal a customer is, they will do this from time to time), they will notice how you understand them better than the others.

Up next…#3 Defining and Implementing Your Engagement Strategy

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