By Janelle Barlow and Claus Moller
Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2008
One of the first things I learned in business is that a customer complaint is the best consulting advice you can get. Customers can instantly show you where your weaknesses are and when their complaints are resolved correctly, these customers become more loyal than customers who never had to complain.
It is often difficult to say no to a customer, but the authors present effective examples of how to handle complaints and still benefit your organization. Too often, we take a direct complaint personally and engage in a battle with the customer a battle nobody wins. This latest edition of A Complaint is a Gift has added a chapter on how to handle complaints that are aimed directly at you.
One area of the book that has not been widely covered in the past is how to handle Internet complaints. Handling a complaint is a very different experience when you are not hearing a voice or seeing a face, yet the customer’s problem must still be resolved. I think the authors have taken a giant step forward on behalf of companies that conduct some or all of their business online. This is new and exciting material, and the accompanying examples are excellent.
This book is an enjoyable, easy read that provides valuable information. The take-away is how to increase shareholder value by incorporating customers into the heart of your firm’s business strategy.
Editor’s Note: For more on this topic, read author Janelle Barlow’s article in this issue of the Graziadio Business Report.