We asked six entrepreneurs what they thought startup should do when a customer complains about your product/service:
Take Them Seriously, But Only in the Aggregate
You should always react courteously when a customer complains, but if the same thing keeps coming up again, the issue should be taken seriously. The same complaint from many different people means that you're the source of the problem, not them. Either fix what's wrong with your product and/or service, or do a better job of explaining it so customers have realistic expectations.
– Dave Nevogt of Hubstaff
Address Promptly Yet Relatively
It is important to seriously consider all complaints received by customers. However, the complaints must be addressed on a relative basis where their merits must be judged. Some customers might have a proclivity for complaining about trivial matters while others might have legitimate problems that require fixing or an apology. Assessing the frequency and weight of complaints is a must.
– Vik Tantry of FormSwift
Use It as an Opportunity to Earn a Lifelong Customer
TigerFitness.com differentiates through ‘personalized service.' When there is an issue, we go above and beyond to not only rectify the situation, but to convert that person to a lifelong customer. A small financial loss in the present is worth the lifelong customer and their friends and family.
– Marc Lobliner of Tiger Fitness
Keep a Good Record of the Complaints
Bill Gates once said, ‘Your unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.' It's important to keep detailed records of these complaints to help you improve your product or service. You will want to be able to look back and identify consistent complaints that need to be resolved.
– Andy Karuza of FenSens
Thank Complaining Customers
Customer complaints are extremely valuable in making sure that your product is aligning with customer needs. Almost all customers will just leave without telling you why or stay silently unhappy, so customers who actually take the time to speak up should be deeply appreciated. We let our customers know that their opinion has been heard and is important to us in shaping the future of our software.
– Laura Roeder of MeetEdgar
Do Whatever It Takes
Ask the customer how you can make things right, and do whatever you can (within reason) to accommodate that request, even if it means taking a slight loss. One negative review on social media can wreak havoc on your brand’s reputation. As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
– Robert De Los Santos of Sky High Party Rentals