Anne Rogers has been in the travel industry for over 30 years. After founding Wings Away Travel and building it into a renowned, well-regarded large lesiure agency, she has now created The Chesapeake Consultancy as a vehicle to work with others still on their business journey, focusing on succession planning and execution, and progress coaching.
Am I the only person old school enough to notice that acknowledging/dealing with business complaints, and feedback in general, appears to have drifted from mandatory to discretionary?
Two weeks ago I was on the receiving end of some pretty shoddy product, and attendant service. I opted not to write a bad review, in favour of a pleasantly and objectively written complaint via the feedback form the supplier sent me. No acknowledgment, no response, no action. This was the third similar instance in recent times.
In my decades as a small business operator, it was devastating to receive a customer complaint. In our case they almost always involved a service lapse by a third party supplier, plus they were being dealt with some time after the event, adding an extra layer of complexity to resolution.
Our very strict policy was immediate escalation of every complaint, large or small – to me. I quickly learned to see them as the opportunity they presented, and relished the challenge of resolution, never giving up until the client was completely satisfied. My ‘catnip’ was the successful restoration of a furious client into a raving fan.
Has the whole emergence/embrace of online reviews as some kind of catch all arbiter taken over? Do businesses now just do the best they can service/product-wise, then just run the gauntlet of reviews, hoping for nothing too terrible?
Is it too old fashioned of me to suggest that if you’re going to be in business you must have a defined policy for dealing with complaints and feedback, with ‘dealing’ being the operative word? And, why bother asking for feedback if it’s not acted upon?