I recently completed a customer satisfaction project for a client – using a combination of telephone interviews and online surveys to probe what a wide variety of customers thought of my client’s offering.
As I normally do in such projects, I made a series of prioritised recommendations at the report stage on what my client needed to do as a result of what we had learnt. And in this case the very first recommendation I made was : “Contact email complainants immediately”.
Now this may seem self-evident – common sense – whatever phrase you want to use. But guess what? Yep – businesses do neglect to take this step.
For example, I met a woman on Tuesday who had stayed for a weekend at a 5 star hotel for a special occasion – a 5th anniversary I believe. With the competing demands of running a business and rearing a young family you can guess that such weekends are few and far between!
So you can imagine her reaction when the much anticipated stay proved a disappointment. She was given the opportunity to voice her opinions through a paper feedback form – which she did. The form was also non-anonymous and she provided her contact details.
But they never contacted her! She received no apology. She was told nothing of any planned remedial action. And there was no gesture made to her to compensate for the disappointment.
So guess what? Yep – she is telling people about this – both what went wrong with the stay as well as the fact that they never acknowledged her feedback.
The result? This hotel is needlessly incurring reputational damage. And I can tell you that it’s in financial trouble – that information in the public domain. And wouldn’t it be ironic if the hotel had actually taken the required remedial action?
What will you do the next time a customer makes a valid complaint?