I recently made a complaint to a company about something they printed for us. It took them 10 weeks to resolve the matter and I had to send them 6 reminders during that time asking for update. Eventually I called the company’s managing director and made an additional complaint about the way my complaint was being handled. Although the issue was resolved amicably in the end, there is no doubt that my complaint was not handled very efficiently.
I was surprised that this reputable company has dealt with my complaint so inefficiently. And I was determined to have something positive to come out of this experience. If anything just to ensure that none of our customers have to go through a similar experience.
Therefore I am writing this for our company and other translation providers who would love to put their customers first.
Feedback vs. Complaint
After all, is there a much difference between feedback and a complaint? Isn’t this similar to glass half-full/half-empty syndrome? The majority of customers who do not complain about services they are unhappy with, almost always take their business elsewhere. According to statistics, it is not a bad thing to receive a complaint. If the complaint is resolved promptly, customers may continue using the same service provider. When the customer does indeed complain, the service provider has an opportunity to correct the problem, and as a result can maintain a positive business relationship.
Asking for feedback is only a start because we need to know what to do if there is a negative feedback – let’s call it complaint for the purpose of this article. It is important that we have a complaint procedure in place. But most importantly raising awareness in the company about the below mistakes will equip us with the right mindset. I very much hope that you are reading this article to prevent a future customer complaint rather then handling one right now.
Here are the 7 mistakes to avoid if your customer complains about the translation you have provided:
#1 – Putting the complaint to the bottom of your to-do list
Delaying to deal with the complaint will not make the issue go away: it will only complicate it further and will be very frustrating for the customer. Also, the longer the matter is left unresolved, the more difficult it is to find a productive solution. Dealing with the issue promptly will lead to a positive solution, which is after all what the customer came to you for in the first place.
#2 – Automatically assume that complaint is for getting a discount
Assuming that the complaint is only made with the intention of receiving a discount or not paying for the service at all can lead you to form a very cynical view of your customers. In the long run this will be counter-productive, and will stop you looking at the complaint objectively. If this assumption is in place then you will take a defensive stance from the very beginning.
The other extreme is offering a discount as soon as your customer complains. This will stop you from getting to the bottom of the matter and would not prevent future mistakes.
#3 – Not listening to your customer or not understanding the complaint
Merely paying lip service to the customer and nodding your head with sympathy will not enable you to understand the reason of the complaint: it will stop you from finding a beneficial win/win resolution to the matter. It will only temporarily pacify your client and gain you some time.
Understanding your customer’s need will enable you to find the perfect solution.
#4 – Blaming someone else
Immediately trying to find excuses and/or blaming another person involved in the project is a sure way to annoy your customer and can destroy your customer’s confidence in the company. An even worse approach would be trying to blame the client for the problems: this is a very destructive approach and will definitely make your customers go elsewhere.
This approach can also create a ‘blame culture’ in the company and will destroy trust among colleagues. And it soon can be the first port of call used to ‘resolve’ customer complaints.
#5 – Not recording the complaint
It is essential that complaints are recorded in order to ensure that the same mistakes do not keep occurring. Every service provider, whether they are a company or a freelancer needs to have a complaint procedure and part of it should be definitely keeping records of complaints. This is a good sign that you are not afraid of dealing with issues.
#6 – Not learning from your mistakes
Despite your endeavours and good will, there was a problem and you managed to resolve it, but no lessons were recorded. If this is the case it is likely that nothing has been learnt from the mistake. It is essential to learn from your mistakes in order not to repeat them.
Learning from your own mistakes is important but learning from others’ mistakes is even better.
#7 – Not resolving the issue to your customer’s satisfaction
Only finding a part solution and dealing with the matter half-heartedly is the wrong way to handle complaints. Total dedication in resolving the matter to your customer’s satisfaction will not go unnoticed and will encourage them to come back to you again and again.
Let’s remember that keeping an existing client happy costs a lot less than finding new clients.
If you would like to discuss any of the above or find out how I can help you or your company, please contact me by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0)1245 216930.