3 Ways to Prevent Customer Complaints Instead of Fixing Them

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They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But how often do you apply that concept to your customer service? Most businesses wait for a problem to arise, and don’t make efforts to fix a problem until after a customer (or several customers) complains.

However, more often than not, a customer that has gotten to the point of complaining about something is one that is not likely to come back to your business.
So, rather than waiting around to fix customer complaints, here are 3 proactive ways that you can prevent those complaints from ever arising.

Better Employee Training
There are actually many factors of employee training that can help you to prevent customer complaints. Of course, there are the obvious points of training that revolve around providing excellent customer service; when properly trained in this regard, you can not only avoid receiving complaints about the quality of service, but your employees can actually defuse tense situations and resolve issues that could otherwise lead to complaints.

But in addition to excellent training in customer service, you should also be better training your employees on how to actively recognize and solve problems before customers complain about them. While they may not be the end consumer, your employees see how your products and services work firsthand. They are often better equipped to recognize a potential problem than people who work in less hands-on positions.

When you train your employees to be problem-solvers, they can often find innovative ways to improve products, services, and fulfillment processes long before anybody ever complains about them.

Open Feedback Platform
Customer feedback is an essential part of keeping your consumers happy. But how many people actually respond to those general satisfaction surveys? More often than not, they’re probably too busy to take five extra minutes at the end of a phone call to answer the survey. So, rather than only offering one opportunity for customers to provide input,
why not have an open feedback platform that your customers can use at any time? This allows them to provide you with valuable opinions about your company when it is convenient for them.

Beyond this, your feedback platform shouldn’t merely ask them if they are “highly satisfied” or “highly dissatisfied.” Your customers have thoughts and opinions that go beyond current satisfaction levels. Instead, utilize innovation management software to gather customers’ ideas regarding a wider variety of topics—improvements they’d like to see, areas where your products fall short, new features they want you to add, pet peeves that no products on the market address, and more.

When you open up your business to greater input from your customers, you can stay ahead of your customers’ wants and needs. This kind of ongoing innovation keeps you ahead of customer needs—and, therefore, ahead of customer complaints.

Setting Clear Expectations
By and large, one of the main reasons for customer complaints is that the customer didn’t have clear expectations set for them from the very beginning. This is often a problem in industries where the customer first deals with a sales representative and then moves on to working with fulfillment or other teams. Sometimes, the sales representative either doesn’t clearly outline how the rest of their experience with your company should work. Other times, pressed to close the deal, the sales rep may simply make promises your company can’t deliver on. In either case, even if your team provides exceptional service and a great product, the customer can often be left feeling like they were cheated.

This is why it is vital that your team sets clear expectations for every customer interaction from the very beginning. This begins with better employee training (as mentioned above) and continues into precise internal communications, interdepartmental cooperation, and many other facets of running your business. When everybody understands what is expected from a business-to-consumer relationship, you are far less likely to receive customer complaints.

While fixing customer complaints is an important part of running any business, it is always far better for your company if you can prevent those complaints from arising in the first place. Try the 3 tricks above, and see if you can cut down on the number of complaints you receive this year.

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