The fact is, they ARE complaining: The room is too cold. The wait is too long. They wish the parking spaces were bigger. The new app doesn’t have a mapping function. They cannot pay with their phone. The website is unclear.
In these types of complaints, the ones that are not as much personal as they are about process or product or technology or payments, there are often hidden compliments within the complaint.
There are two clear ways we can view these complaints based on a point in time. In-the-moment, we have to focus on the issue and the resolution. For the future, we can find that hidden gem of information, and oftentimes that gem is a compliment.
Why look for compliments? First, compliments are positive, and it’s usually better for our mindset and mental health to make sure we have at least some semblance of a balance in customer service – where those positives don’t allow themselves to be overrun by all negatives.
Second, compliments tell us what customers like. Frequently, the best way to improve is to Strengthen Our Strengths as opposed to purely fixing our organizational faults.
The room is too cold? The wait is too long? The parking spaces need to be bigger? The view through the positive lens suggests that customers want to conduct their business in this building. They appreciate the opportunity to engage us face-to-face. They’re willing to come to us, to reach out to us. That method of engagement is not a barrier to our relationship with them.
The app doesn’t have a mapping function? They can’t pay with their phone? The website’s unclear? Let’s put these complaints in a positive light. They like that we provide an app! They like the ability to do customer service in a self-service manner. They want to pay for our services. They are willing to move toward the latest technology.
When we’re dealing with that complaint, we need to be in-the-moment and focus on the issue.
But when it’s not in that moment of truth, look for opportunities to continuously improve by finding the hidden compliment in the complaint.