Being in a support services job, I know it can feel like some people can never be satisfied; and it it’s always the dissatisfied person that seems to have the biggest mouth. Sometimes, it can even feel like bullying. So doesn’t it make sense that if you ignore the bully, they will go away? In a true bullying situation, ignoring them is a viable strategy. If they don’t get the response they are looking for, or the attention they crave, they just might move on to someone else. But can we afford to do that in a customer service situation. I say absolutely not.
When complaints are out there they don’t just go away. They have a very negative effect on you and your organization or department. Even if the complaint is unfounded, it’s out there and you should react to it. Ignoring a bad customer or coworker experience will not make it go away because most times it really isn’t about the person trying to make you look bad, like it is with bullying. It’s about them not getting what they wanted or what they expected. As service providers, it is our job to make sure they are satisfied. Now that may involve getting the expectations in line with reality, or clearing up a misunderstanding, but regardless, you should never leave a bad customer experience unresolved.
Two things can happen when you take the time to address someone who had a bad experience. One, you can use it as an opportunity to turn that grouch into a fan, and two, you can correct a problem that will prevent the same thing from happening again in the future. Both are pretty good options. Consider when you read an online review of a restaurant, hotel, or store. People are quick to put up their negative comments. But don’t you end up with a better feel for the store or company when the owner or someone in charge responds and either tries to help the complainer or apologizes for the experience they had? They also use it as an opportunity to explain their intended customer service policy, or make some kind of offer to entice the customer to come back and try again.
It should be no different for us with our customers or co-workers. After all, our job is to help them help the patient. If that’s not happening, isn’t it best to figure out how we can make it happen, no matter whose fault it is? What small gesture can you make to someone who complained about you that would change their mind and make them more understanding in the future? Could it be a little brownie left for them as an olive branch? A complementary email about something they did? Those small acts go a long way to building the positive relationships needed to make a real team. Don’t let bad press stay out there. Be the bigger person. Own it, and fix it. You will be more successful in the long run.
Thoughts…….. Contact me at abbe@TECResourceCenter.com
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