Most complaints are compound failures

Think about the last time you actually made a complaint with a company. Why did you complain?

Chances are – it wasn’t because of a single failure.

When something goes wrong with a product or service, we normally contact the company to try and resolve it.

It’s when they fail to resolve the issue to our satisfaction or fail to resolve it at all that we are then compelled to complain.

So the company has now failed us not once, but at least twice (sometimes more). Complaints are a great place to commence your business improvement research as they tell us so much about what is going wrong in an organisation.

You want to address the root cause of the failure – why the product or service went wrong in the first place. But once those improvements are in place, you might want to look at why the various customer service areas failed to resolve the issue, once the company knew about it.

Something going wrong is not necessarily going to negatively impact your customer satisfaction – in fact, sometimes it can improve it.

On my last trip to Australia with my wife and 2 small children, we arrived at Sydney airport after 26 hours of travelling and picked up our car from Avis. About 10 miles from the airport all the bad indicator lights went on and the car went into safety mode.

Exhausted, ratty and needing a shower, this was the last thing we needed. We called Avis and drove back to the airport as instructed. And here’s where our total dissatisfaction turned around.

When we got there, they had another car ready for us. The staff unloaded everything and reloaded everything into another car and had the paperwork all ready to go. They apologised profusely and gave us a complimentary upgrade and a free day’s hire.

Sometimes, it’s not about what went wrong, but what you do about it when it does.