Being in the cleaning industry, customer complaints are a common part of the job. In fact, the same can be said of any service based business. Some clients dole out complaints more than others. Some complaints are more reasonable than others. Nevertheless, criticism is something that comes with the territory. We may not like it, but could it help us?
I recently listened to an interview on CBC’s Q with Jian Ghomeshi with Mandy Patinkin. If you don’t know Mandy Patinkin, then you are not addicted to the Showtime program Homeland like I am. Or perhaps you haven’t seen Princess Bride where he was Inigo Montoya in 1987’s The Princess Bride, with the iconic line, “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” Anyway, I heard the passionate Patinkin talk about his appreciation of criticism and how it can make us better. That statement got me thinking about how a paradigm shift in regards to customer complaints just might do us some good.
An article in The Guardian outlines some of the benefits of criticism like this;
Criticism is a form of communication – If someone has a criticism it means they want to give you feedback on what you’re doing for them – that means an opportunity to learn more about the person who you’re working for and how to convert them into a satisfied customer.
Feedback helps make your product stronger – Use that information to change your performance, service, exhibition or event – sometimes it will make for uncomfortable listening but it can make your product stronger as a result.
It forces you to think about how you work – Constructive criticism can guide you away from bad practices and towards good ones. Try to be objective and look at what you’re providing as though it’s not yours.
The right kind of criticism can give you an advantage – If you can get a customer to tell you how to give them the perfect product or service, that’s information you’ve got that no one else has. That puts you at an advantage over anyone else in your sector and can be used again in the future to get things right, even faster.
Use positive language, elicit a solution– Try to avoid getting into an argument. Instead, turn the exchange into a discussion about how to resolve the problem. This way you’re still in a position to get paid and you’ll waste less time guessing how to put things right.
So next time you get a complaint, don’t take it personally. Instead, listen and then thank that customer for helping you do your job better.
“Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” ~Aristotle
EFS Clean Building Services is Calgary’s locally-owned-and-grown Commercial Cleaning Company. Our services include Commercial Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Ceiling Cleaning & Restoration, Hard Surface Restoration, Quality Assurance Inspections and Efficiency Consulting. Let us help you get a better clean by calling 403-949-3344 or send us a message on our Contact Us page.