Designer. Disruptor. Startup Mentor. Digital Innovator.

Customer Complaints: More Valuable Than You Think

Maximize Team Performance - ibuildcompanies.com by Jeanne Heydecker

Whenever I’ve had the opportunity to work with customer service representatives, I have a three vital questions:

  • How the team is organized?
  • How they are compensated?
  • What is their primary objective?

Team Organization

Depending upon the size of your overall company, you may only have a couple of people answering customer calls or maybe the sales team handles all incoming calls. If you’re a call center responsible for the service of customers of a large organization (or more), the answer can be very complex. Regardless of the size of the team, the most vital answer to quality customer service is employee empowerment. They need to be able to resolve solutions without going up the chain of command to get permission to resolve a customer complaint.

There may be ways to gamify the organization. It may be achieving certain milestones, but could encompass many areas of employee development. The rewards could be automatic promotions, raises, or bonuses. Figuring out how to create this gamification is complex in large teams, so you may want to create smaller teams within the team. such as by client type, product line type, etc., and create milestones that make sense to each group.


Compensation may be just a straight salary/benefits package or a performance-based program that focuses on certain key performance indicators (KPIs). Some organizations focus on number of resolved customer interactions per day or similar factors, but the most vital focus for quality customer service is exceeding expectations and creating delight in that customer.

This is not something that is simple to do, and it requires reaching out to customers regularly, asking them how we are doing, what else could we do, and would you recommend us to a friend or colleague? Were there any specific situations that arose since the last call that went well or did not reach a satisfactory conclusion? Can you tell us more? Any negative feedback should be regularly analyzed and resolved by the management team creating new milestones to encourage employees to reach those milestones and collect their rewards.

Primary Objective

What is your customer service team’s overall mission? Everyone has sat on hold for forty minutes or more trying to get an answer about a charge on your credit card, or to understand why your telephone bill doubled this month, only to get no answer that makes sense and the person you’re talking to doesn’t have a way to resolve your issue. Their primary objective should be to use their ability to create solutions that make the client loyal, tell a friend, rate your service at five stars, ultimately converting that client into an extension of your sales team and social proof that your company is a customer-focused organization.

Whenever a customer complains, it means that more than ten have simply just stopped buying from you, disappearing into the wind. It is vital to ensure that you document the types of complaints and set up a team that meets regularly to address them head on. It may mean scrapping obsolete products or services, or you may need to develop new options.

Complaints are valuable. They can speak volumes about what you need to do to streamline processes and expand your business, while increasing top line revenue.

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