It has been well documented that dealing effectively with a complaint can result in a long term relationship with a customer that ultimately ends with more business than you would have had if they hadn't complained in the first place.
How can a business make sure that their complaints procedure is effective so they can take full advantage of this opportunity?
Intuitively you might think that the opposite of love is hate. However, love and hate are both sides of the same coin. They are both emotional positions that have a high level of engagement. The opposite of love, and hate, is actually indifference. Hate won't kill a business but indifference will.
Who deals with complaints?
Who deals with the complaints in your business? Is it the person who answers the phone, or someone who has been given the fragrant end of the stick? Or is it someone with the power to actually do something about the problem? Not only is it frustrating for a complaining customer to have to deal with someone who can't solve the problem but employees who don't have the right training or experience can make a bad situation far worse.
Having said that sometimes the most senior person is not always the best person. They might have the power but they might not have the freedom of mind to do anything.
You have to be open minded to effectively win over people
Often senior people have a very set way of looking at a situation. They have made their mind up which means that anyone who disagrees is wrong. You cannot solve any problems from this position, you can only entrench and divert, which can only be effective in the short term if it ever is at all.
On diversions, a loyal customer is like a needle in a haystack. You don't find them by adding another haystack. You find them by using a magnet. Attraction is what everyone is talking about.
In order to understand attraction you have to understand a very important concept; You Are Not Your Customer.
Sometimes the way you see things is not the way your customers sees things. There are situations where almost all customers disagree with a business owner, particularly if there has been a change of management. If the new business owner is particularly bloody minded a business can be driven into the ground because the customers are not being listened to. The corporate world is littered with the bodies of failed businesses which thought they knew better.
So, a couple of thoughts on dealing with complaints and using customer service to drive sales. There must be plenty more.