ukbm news

How to get more customers - through complaints!

Written by Graham Ballantyne on .

Hopefully, I got your attention with the headline?

But it’s actually not as mad as it suggests.

As a Business Mentor, I know that we business owners or senior managers, really focus on our customers. Ensure we have the best systems, trained, motivated and incentivised staff. But even with the best systems and people, inevitably errors and mistakes will happen.

So, when it happens, we will get that complaint.

No one likes them, we can take it personally and it can be upsetting for all.

BUT it’s how we deal with it that makes the difference.


Do we welcome the complaint? Do we take it seriously, take ownership, are our staff empowered to help quickly, do we sort it and ensure the customer is happy?

Do we show we CARE?

Do we learn from it, do we change how we do things, or do we do what I experienced with a household name this week?

Constantly ignored, told numerous times “it’s not the process” even when the process is broken.

No ownership, don’t call back, never do what they say. Social media – please DM us …… so it looks to the world that we care ……………. But then we can ignore you on the DM and or advise “we can’t do anything as not our job”.

OR THE BEST ONE; Senior Managers don’t talk to customers?



As a business mentor, I work with lots of business owners. There was one business based between Reading and Oxford whose attitude was “it’s the customers' fault” that’s not how we work. Now that might have been the case. But during one of our coaching sessions, I asked, “how do your customers know” and “what exactly do your customer want”?

In this case, it was poor communication but then they went on to kill their brand as opposed to enhancing it – so the situation worsened. As a business coach, I am always looking for ways to get that win for my customers. It always amazes me what you can see from the outside looking in, rather than the inside looking out.

When a customer complains in most cases it's warranted or at least a misunderstanding and an issue with communication. They are asking a question. Many businesses spend large budgets on marketing, on sales and customer retention. Here we have a living breathing customer who wants to talk to us – but we make a complete mess of it.

Imagine if we welcome the complaint, deal with it quickly, ensure they are satisfied even follow it up via a customer care call. Imagine if the owner or a senior manager did this or part of it – SPEED STUNS.

We also get an insight into what went wrong, how we can eradicate it and in many cases the inspiration and information to fix it. To make the experience of dealing with us even better- gold dust. It used to be called feedback and companies pay other companies to do this for them via focus groups – when we are actually getting it direct – now you read it like this– it sounds mad!

Do we enhance the brand, do they tell others great things about us or do we treat them abysmally “because it’s not the process” or our staff are so demotivated that simply they don’t care?

As a business mentor I will mystery shop my customers to see what happens when they are not there – what was the first impression you got, what opinion did you start to form?

The touchpoints we have with customers at moments of truth create lasting feelings and memories for our customers. What do you want yours to be?

Where they love us, we have a customer for life, we get more business, we can get referrals as they are engaged with our brand.

How great would that be having someone doing FREE marketing for you …… or it can go the other way.

It always amazes me that many large companies with highly paid executives titled HEAD OF CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE but have no idea about any of this.

Through the pandemic customers' buying habits have changed greatly. Our values and wants are in most cases very different.

Smaller local companies have the nimble dexterity to really win this space.

SO, the next time you get a complaint, welcome it, embrace it, fix it, and cement a customer for life. Where done effectively and sincerely you have just added a team member to your marketing department – especially if you didn’t have one!

Through that engagement, you will get more business and customers through complaints.

Graham Ballantyne
Business Mentor
Oxfordshire and West Berkshire

Learn more

Visit our YouTube Channel.

Book your complimentary mentoring session today
Copyright © 2024 UK Business Mentoring Group. All rights reserved.
Website Design & Development by Beyond Your Brand
This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Read our Privacy Policy to find out more.