Complaints can be your best source of information about problems and frustrations
Yes, welcome complaints to achieve a balanced understanding of what is happening in the community. Sure, there will never be enough money or time to adequately address every complaint you receive. But, you can certainly get things moving in the right direction.
Complaining about performance enables people to improve if you can change the conversation from the past to the future. Complainers tend to be stuck in the past, whereas leaders turn toward the future and look into new possibilities.
Take a positive approach to complaints, look at them as good feedback about the problems and frustrations in the community. While there will be many complaints outside your sphere of influence, at least you can pass on people’s concerns.
- Weather is a perennial in regional areas
- Self-centred uncaring leaders
- Old inappropriate infrastructure
- Lack of capacity to get things done
- Pace of change
- Energy prices
- Politicians responsiveness and inaction
- Taxes are too high
- Poor quality coffee and restaurants
- Too many rules and regulations
- Customers are always complaining, but about what?
- Poor rail and air services
- Technology problems
- Slow or no broadband connection
- No mobile phone reception
- Poor social services
- Lack of community response
- Uncaring and unhelpful people
- Lack of follow through
- Waste management
- False advertising
- Telemarketing calls
- People telling lies
- Finding good employees
- Poor after-sales service
- Lack of financial services
- Difficulty in returning items purchased
- Poor road maintenance
- Shoddy quality
- Too few volunteers
Complaints challenges you need to overcome
Pointing out and doing something about fault finding, mistakes, failures and defect are essential aspects of leadership.
Remember when the customer was always right? Unfortunately, these days customer service is suffering as less qualified people fill jobs out of necessity because of a lack of appropriate education. Politicians seem only interested in their careers and are too bound up in ‘political correctness’ rubbish.
- Prick the balloon of complaints, allow people to let their ‘hot air’ out
- Invite positive complaints from people who care
- Resolve to do something about the allegations
- Turn complaints into decisive action.
- Never force people to choose sides.
- Look to improve personal service and the ‘customer experience’.
A simple process for handling complaints
How you treat a complaint is a critical component of the community developer. The last thing you want is a misguided response.
- Listen and understand. Take the time to listen and truly understand what is driving the person’s concern. Be appreciative of any aspect of the community which requires attention. Avoid the temptation to respond instantly without proper consideration.
- Once you have listened to a concern immediately empathise with their position to create a better relationship. Be sure people know you have heard their matter and are going to work with them to find a solution.
- Offer a solution. But, only after appropriate consideration before you offer a solution to the issue. In this regard, always focus on what you can do as opposed to what you cannot. There is still a solution. It may not be precisely what the person is asking for, but if you focus on what you can do you will go a long way towards an answer to their situation.
- Execute the solution. Solve the problem be it with the initially requested resolution or an alternative you have proposed. Never put a genuine complaint on the ‘back burner’ and hope it will go away.
- Follow-up. Always make sure you follow-up directly with the complainer to make sure they are satisfied with the solution and to be sure you have taken care of their concerns. If necessary readdress the problem, they have.
Just as there will always be problems and frustrations in our community’s, there will still be satisfactory ways to resolve the issues and help people to move on with the many possibilities for the future.
“It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness”. Confucius
“I felt sorry for myself because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet”. Jewish Proverb