Big Business Customer Service Mistakes – #2 Making Assumptions

This is the second installment of our series: Big Business Customer Service Mistakes. Businesses have, for the most part, built systems to allow customers to provide feedback. That’s a great first step, but making that feedback experience a good one for the customer is the next. Avoiding this mistakes will help!

Making Assumptions: Mislabeling Customer Feedback

At OwnerListens, we prefer the the term “feedback” to refer to what the customer has to say about a business. “Comment” or “Message” can also work. Whatever terms you use, don’t make assumptions about what the customer has to say. Labeling their feedback with stiff language like “incident” or “issue” without regard for the actual content of the message can make customers feel like they are not being heard. Labeling feedback as an “inquiry” can be confusing…even worse, labeling all feedback as “complaints” can lead a customer to think: “wow, people must really not like this place!” Putting that suggestion in a customer’s head can lead them to start thinking negatively about your business – and maybe they were trying to leave you a compliment!

As our 2013 data shows, people like leaving compliments. Nearly 80% of feedback contained a compliment. Over 30% of feedback contained a complaint. Suggestions and questions ranged in the single digits. Why is this important? People generally have more than just one type of comment to make about a business. Makes sense right? “The food was amazing, but the service was slow” or “Your staff are so helpful and kind, but I was disappointed that you ran out of my size of jeans.”

There are feedback systems out there (especially online forms) that allow customers to label their feedback more specifically, like “complaint”, “suggestion”, etc. That can help a business use the appropriate language in auto replies and responses, but make sure all the language before a customer leaves feedback recognizes the diversity of comments they may make.

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