Recently, I heard someone touting a certain Customer Complaint System for businesses. Yes, he claimed it would “resolve all those many complaint issues in an expedited manner.” Sounds reasonable!?
But, how much more valuable would it be to you, if you RARELY had a customer complaint?
You might think, since I promote business systemization, that a customer complaint system would be right up my alley. However, before jumping in and implementing any new system for a business, I’ve learned it needs to be WELL-considered!
For instance, it has always puzzled me that the airlines will spend millions on systems to get LOST luggage back to passengers, no matter where they are. Yet, their rate of lost luggage is often so high, they seem to lack systems to address the problem of LOSING it, in the first place!
Every day, the airlines have fleets of vans shuttling to hotels, residents and businesses in order to return lost or misplaced luggage, as quickly as possible. These vans are manned, I feel certain, with good folks making good salaries; also good benefits. In the meantime, the vehicles have to be parked, maintained, licensed, insured and purchased or replaced on a regular basis.
Systems that Prompt Customer Complaints
Now, if the owner of certain misplaced luggage has gone on to their next stop, before the van can catch up with them (due to more bottlenecks or other inadequate systems), the Airline will then return the luggage to the initial airport. There they will schedule and fly the luggage to the next known destination. Again, they will send out a delivery van, in hopes the owner will still be there when the van arrives. Such luggage is known to end up in this loop for several weeks, racking up more cost and more mileage than its owner!
If the owner cannot be found, the airline will log and store the luggage for a certain amount of time (I assume, required by law), and if time expires before it’s claimed, another system would have to kick in, in order to dispose of the bags and their contents altogether. Of course, storing and disposing of luggage also requires more personnel with more benefits. Sound complicated? It is!
Tale of the LOST Luggage System
How do I know anything about this luggage system? It happened to my wife, while visiting a relative in Boston a while back.
Upon landing, Susan discovered her luggage had not arrived on the same plane, but she was assured it “will be delivered tomorrow.” However, for the next days, Susan spoke FIVE different times with actually nice airline CSR’s, receiving always nice apologies. All the while, she was wearing the same, wilting yellow dress!
The night before Susan was to return home, still in yellow, Susan attended a farewell family dinner at a local restaurant, when her cell phone rang.
“Hello, we went to your relative’s house, but they said you were out, so we didn’t know where to deliver your things.” (Could have left it THERE maybe?)
“But, if you’ll wait where you are, I’ll bring it right over!” So, the airline courier delivered all Susan’s luggage to the restaurant.
“How often do you have to do this?” Susan patiently asked the courier.
“Oh, we deliver at least 250 pieces of lost luggage daily,” came the answer. Hmm!
Customer Complaint #Six – Suggesting a FIX
Surely, there’s a system that could fix that… however…
NOTE: I AM NOT A FAN OF SYSTEMS JUST FOR SYSTEMS SAKE! Why? Because unnecessary systems cost money.
Yes, the customer complaint should be documented and then resolved quickly. However, once resolved, the complaint should NOT be forgotten. The important thing would be, to determine the ROOT CAUSE of the problem. Ask WHY the luggage was lost in the first place—so it might not happen again.
Next, the current system should be improved, or a new system implemented. This would ensure that the reason the luggage was lost would be addressed and eliminated for good. And it would certainly REDUCE the amount of customer complaints.
We have a system feature in our company… for finding, documenting, measuring and eliminating ALL customer complaints. It also identifies errors, bottlenecks, vendor errors, miscommunications, etc. We call it: The System Buster Locator.
This loop of continual improvement for eliminating any and all customer complaints also allows a business to reduce costs, by NOT having to maintain inadequate and poorly written systems.
So… how do YOU handle customer or other complaints in YOUR business?
No, really—I’d appreciate hearing about that!
Did I mention? Great systems work!