The following excerpt, from the article Why grumbles, gripes and grievances are great for public service innovation, was written by Jo Casebourne, director of public and social innovation at Nesta, and published on The Guardian. Casebourne goes on to elaborate on how you can effectively translate complaints into strategic ideas. View the full article to read his suggestions.
When we think of complaints, we think of frustration, failure, and poor service.
Complaints are not often associated with innovation and creativity, and receiving lots of them is seen as something to be wary of. But what if we think of complaints more positively, as catalysts for change?
Think of that latest gripe as a gift. The customer is taking time to say that they are dissatisfied. This is indeed a special time since most dissatisfied customers will just sulk away from a company and never say what they really think. Instead, they become a secret detractor of that company and tell thousands of their friends about their bad experience on social media. When a customer says they are dissatisfied, the company gets a chance to fix it and turn them into a more loyal customer.
The way complaints are handled makes a real difference to how we feel about a service or company. When we are told promptly that our concern is being investigated, and are then informed of the outcome – and perhaps even get an apology – we're often left feeling just as good, or even better than we were before the problem happened. That's certainly how I feel when I get good customer service.
According to Nesta, the U.K.’s innovation foundation, customer complaints can actually fuel innovation. Dr. Jo Casebourne, director of public and social innovation at Nesta, reveals that, “This is about looking at why people are disgruntled, what can be fixed, introduced or adapted to better align services with people’s needs and expectations.”
Does your store have an example of a time when you used a customer complaint to create a positive shopping experience? Share it with other collegiate retailers in the comments section!