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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The complaint

Nothing hurts nor helps more than a sincere complaint from a dissatisfied client. When you receive that call, or email, what should you do?

Two responses come to mind. First, very clearly, the matter must receive priority attention. You need to get to the bottom of the issue -- how it happened, and the source of the problem. Then you need to fix the underlying cause, unless the issue is accidental, minor, or unlikely to occur again.

But the biggest challenge is resolving the problem from the client's perspective. In some situations, you might be technically right and legally 'correct' in doing nothing, but from a marketing perspective this sends out all the wrong signals. Your employees, seeing that there is no recourse or internal cost/consequence to leaving a client unhappy, will go on to lower their standards and expectations. And of course you know that complaining clients are often like canaries in mine -- they may signal something much deeper, and more significant, and problems affecting the 'silent majority' of your customers.

When someone complains, you need to take action, now.

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