dissatisfied customer

February 4, 2010

Customer Complaints – Who Will Gather The Intelligence?

Complaints are a valuable asset to any organization, once you can ensure that your people are willing to play.

And to get them with you, they need to know that it’s not personal…

There is no greater value than that to be gleaned from your customers and clients who are prepared to take the time to give you feedback – which is a much more constructive way to describe a complaint.

These gold nuggets are literally worth their weight, when you are able to capture, dissect and respond positively to what you find out. Yet many organizations revel in low complaint rates!

The key to this is your people – all of them. It’s about turning them from being fearful of when a complaint comes in, to positively gleeful, because of the enormous opportunity it presents.

By ensuring that every one of them is geared up to sense when things aren’t going well, you will create an army of willing volunteers who are ready for action. Their job is to seek out and get to the bottom of any dissatisfaction they perceive.

This has to happen in the moment, all the time, or it will have passed and the opportunity will have disappeared into the anonymity of an ended phone call; a person now back out on the street; or the lost data storage of an online interaction that never sees the light of day.

It needs to be pro-actively sought, not passively responded to – or worse, swept under the carpet with the hope it will go away.

By encouraging your people to engage and interact with their clients, in any way at all, they will be able to get under the tough skin of a dissatisfied customer ‘not wanting to make a fuss’. They have to smell it out or it will slink away, unspoken, which is of no use at all to you.

They will probably capture more customer dissatisfaction, than you expect, especially to start with.

And when they do, it’s to be applauded. It’s to be celebrated.

Working as a team to find out critical information from those who have it, is a tactic any manager can adopt to ensure that customer service progresses, whilst also building the team togetherness ethic in a constructive, value-creating way.

By encouraging each and every one of them to engage their clients in any way they can, will make the conversation much more open and relaxed – and valuable.

Because, with this in place, many of your customers can easily be asked what they would love changed if they had the choice in the experience they have most recently had.

And that gives you – and your team – the vital intelligence to make your offer even better than it already is.

(c) 2010 Martin Haworth. This is a short excerpt from one of 52 lessons in management development at Super Successful Manager!, an easy to use, step-by-step weekly development program for managers of EVERY skill level. Find out more at http://www.SuperSuccessfulManager.com.

Filed under Blog, Customer Service, Developing Your People, Focus on Results by Martin

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December 7, 2008

Empowerment Skills – Developing Your Management Capabilities

It’s amazing how many managers feel that they just cannot be absent from their workplace because they are ‘irreplaceable’. By empowering their employees, much more is possible…

When a manager feels unable to be away from their business, because they do not have capable people in place, it must be a very frustrating experience.

Empowerment – A Management ‘Must-Have’

Many managers are taught to be “hands-on” and not pass on tasks of any importance to their subordinates.

When they try to take a step upwards into a full management role, it makes them feel uncomfortable – as if they are not working ‘hard enough’.

So they find it hard to not  do the whole job, despite having people around them who would willingly do a bit more.

Without Empowerment Employees Will Do Less

Some employees enjoy being able to say, “call back on Monday”, or “I can’t make that decision, you need to speak with the manager”.

That way they can get off making a decision and risk less.

Why be dealing with an unruly, dissatisfied customer, when they could be doing something less stressful with their time?

Only The Manager Is Responsible

Many managers unknowingly encourage this type of behavior.

It’s quite a step to recognize that employees will evolve their capabilities when they have the trust of the manager and are allowed to do more.

Particularly for customer-facing employees, the ability to act fast and delight customers needs to be a given in any business.

Customers Want Employee Empowerment

Customers like to have their problems fixed by the first person they approach. Having an employee call for the manager only causes irritation and frustration.

They believe that the manager is waiting in the back office, or that the employees have been trained to give this response, and therefore, it becomes an excuse for the employees to blame it on the manager, and the customer to blame it on the manager.

It’s a no-win situation for a manager that wants to portray that they are in control.

A Manager’s Strength Is His Team

A manager cannot do it all – their performance depends on how they get the best from their team.

For example, if you let your employees know that you expect them to make a reasonable decision in your absence, let them know that they are the manager in control when you are gone.

You will stand behind the logical decisions they make, and then let them know what you might have done different, you are teaching them to become a manager.

Any manager with that sort of team ethic will benefit hugely from the freedom that comes as a result.

With Empowerment Everyone’s A Winner

Of course, when a manager has been used to keeping every tricky decision to themselves, it’s a bit of a fear to let things go – and it can be one of the  best things they can learn to do.

Their people start to feel that they are contributing more fully and, perhaps most importantly, recognize that they can personally make a difference to the success of the organization.

This is the principle of management development through empowerment.

Turning Teams Around

It’s an amazing experience as a manager when you turn someone on to the hidden capabilities they have within them already.

They begin to reach a level of management development that all managers should desire-a staff that can exist without them.

Filed under Developing Your People by Martin

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