Preventing complaints.

Preventing complaints is probably the most important thing you can do in customer service. If you stop things from going wrong, customers likely won’t have to contact you for service. Despite how good your customer service is, most customers won’t want to have to deal with it – they prefer that everything works by itself.

So, how do you prevent complaints? This isn’t the right blog to read if you want to know how to prevent complaints. For that, you’d probably have to read a blog about business, operations, engineering, or anything else that may be related to your business and making sure things go correctly all the time. However, I’ll do my best to provide the short version of preventing complaints.

Be pro-active.
You’ll notice a common theme here: being pro-active is important. You should have some sort of monitoring procedures in place that will let you pro-actively notice and fix problems.

  • Actually use your product. If you actually use your product, chances are, you’ll run into problems with it eventually. You can then fix these problems, and see if there are any similar problems with other products (or other servers, etc.).
  • Have monitoring software. Even if you don’t believe it in, use some sort of monitoring software. Even if it’s just to see if your company’s servers are responding, use some sort of monitoring software to see what’s going on with your company.
  • Look for problems. Use your product or service and actually look for things that aren’t perfect. This may sound like a waste of time, but you should have your customer service representatives look for problems when the helpdesk isn’t very busy (it’s better than doing online shopping, emailing friends, etc.).

Make it hard to complain.
Make it so annoying and difficult to complain that customers don’t even bother. This is the best way to prevent complains. (Just kidding! Only do this if you want your customers to cancel (probably by issuing chargebacks) instead of complain.)

Have scheduled maintenance.
If you have do to do some maintenance that requires your server to go down, do it pro-actively. Don’t just say “Oops, there was a problem – we’re fixing it (during primetime).” Instead, fix it at 2 A.M. on Sunday, or whenever your service is being used the least. Ensure you notify customers of the maintenance in advance and provide any compensate to inconvenienced customers (if they do complain).

Don’t let it escalate.
If a customer sends in a support request, calls you, or whatever, be sure to deal with the issue as quickly and effectively as possible. In short, don’t let problems escalate to where they become more formal complaints. That’s when you start running into problems.
Short post today, but I may edit it later this evening with some additional information.

Preventing complaints can be tough, but in the end, it’s certainly worth it. You’ll save lots of time, money, and trouble if you can fix things before they break.

One Response to “Preventing complaints.”

  1. Hughie Poole said:

    Jan 10, 07 at 1:49 pm

    I am delivering a workshop on complaints soon. I am really looking for 2 lists related to complaints. The first listing giving causes and the second listing prevention. Can you help me?