The Wise Entrepreneur

The Value in Customer Complaints

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Now, no honest businessman can convince me that he has had no complaints from his customers about something they didn’t like. And if you come across such an entrepreneur you just need to run – because you are face to face with fiction – and fiction is not good for your enterprise. Reality is. Customer complaints are part of business. In the words of Bill Gates, ‘Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.’ Unhappy customers complain, and when they complain you should gain. Now I know you are wondering how this can be, aren’t you?

  • Customer complaints provide an opportunity for you to sit and talk with your customers or clients. This is a great opportunity and if you are smart you can turn it into great capital for your enterprise, can’t you? I guess you know what I mean. Some people are so eager just to meet customers and talk. If you can’t talk your customers into coming back to, or reconsidering you then you need a refresher course immediately. Don’t you think so?
  • They are also means to understand your customers or clients better and this adds value to your enterprise. When you adapt to the needs or desires of your customers then you are in business. You exist to meet needs and expectations and sometimes you get to the details through customer complaints. You might be the type that hardly researches. Create customer bliss and you will be in bliss. Period. 
  • What about learning from the competition? Haven’t you heard your dissatisfied customers enumerating things your competitors are doing that you aren’t? Don’t they sometimes give you a hint on why your competitor beats you hands down – especially if they want to make you feel you are simply opaque as far as customer service is? You need to wake up and smell the coffee my friend.
  • Customer complaints also help you identify problems with your field staffs, products,etc. Occasionally you may need to confirm some things from the field to finally decide to redeploy part of your teams’ marketing ‘talent’ to other uses. May be that delayed product redesign could be hastened due to customer complaints also. Now, these can be greatly advantageous to your business.

Please kindly note that this is not a license to intentionally do shoddy work. Do the best – but when it turns out not to be the best – accept the complaints in good faith and make haste to correct. Well managed customer complaints can yield positive outcomes. It might involve paying a price, and if this is the case you should proceed and pay the price. Indeed your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning, aren’t they?

I guess it’s time to go.

Till then,

The Wise Entrepreneur

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Clayton W. L. Mwaka

Clayton W. L. Mwaka, a Ugandan chartered accountant and motivational speaker with 24 years of diverse experience, specializes in business administration, international consultancy, and lecturing. He advocates for personal empowerment through balanced living, qualitative leadership, and paradigm shifts, aiming to unlock individual potential globally.

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