Feedback from your clients can be a blessing and a challenge: here are 4 suggestions from Grovelands’ Director, David Leen, on making them work harder for your firm.
Earlier in the year I wrote a blog on the greatest comebacks from adversity (Leicester City who?); I received some great responses and thought I would look at how this applies to firms and organisations when they earn bad reviews or feedback – this is often made very public.
Here at Grovelands we value feedback from our clients, candidates and employees and understand that it is an opportunity to make improvements and changes if and when necessary. Feedback is also enormously powerful in motivating our team, who work tremendously hard to ensure the service our clients and candidates receive is of the highest quality.
As a means of measuring our performance we introduced a NPS (Net Promoter Score) this year which is widely used in the Financial Services sector. First Direct, for example, have a better NPS score based on their customer’s experience compared to other banks in the market.
In our opinion our NPS has great value to us, however, it tends to provide an overview of what has happened in the past as opposed to being proactive in the moment. I’m keen to examine other signals from clients, such as reviews.
Due to the quality of our service Grovelands receives lots of positive reviews, yet others companies are not always as fortunate. So how do you address negative reviews or a complaint?
4 tips from Grovelands
1. We’re lucky to live in a digital era where clients and customers have the power to define the service that they want to receive. Some companies can be inundated with reviews which can be time consuming to address on an individual basis. As a result I hear the use of automated systems and AI (Artificial Intelligence) systems being used more often. Whilst there are some good benefits to these systems, in my opinion it does seem a bit soulless and I would err of the side of caution when executing this process.
Our approach at Grovelands has always been to deliver a personal and dedicated service to every client we work with and each candidate we talk to, meaning any feedback we have received will be address and acknowledged by a member of our team.
I’ve been disappointed with my experience, as a customer, with AI systems when I complained last year to my holiday insurance firm. I was directed to an automated portal to make a complaint/claim and was surprised and shocked by their lack of response – it made a bad situation worse. I reviewed their social media channels to find others had had a similar experience to me. These issues weren’t being addressed by the company and when I tried to approach then directly I was encouraged to wait to hear back from the automated portal. In the end it got so bad that I contacted their CEO, as most firms have an executive complaints team, and I still heard nothing from them for a while. I could have quite rightly contacted the FOS but I decided to give up.
My advice: Tread with caution when using automated systems and don’t forget to have a humanistic approach when addressing both positive and negative reviews.
2. Care and consideration towards your clients will help immensely when resolving any negative feedback you may receive. There is a debate taking place at the moment on whether you can train customer care – is it nurture or nature? I’d like to think so but I am not convinced. I know of three firms that have deployed specific training on an industrial scale for their entire customer facing team. I’m very familiar with one of the firms and they have rigorously trained their team from the top down and across all of their teams. There has been a tangible change in their language and attitude as well as a small improvement to the NPS for the company. This is a great achievement and although the results appear to be positive, I’m still sceptical and I wonder whether they hired considerate and professional people rather than training them thoroughly.
Training your team is absolutely paramount to ensure you are executing your business objective efficiently, however using a recruitment consultant like Grovelands can remove lengthy hiring processes and due to our assessment and filtering practices we can put forward a shortlist of candidates that you’re looking for with the skills, relevant experience and personality that will fit in your business.
3. Implementing a complaints procedure so your business has a clear idea about the steps to take when a complaint or negative review is received will help your team address and resolve any issues quickly, without negatively impacting the client further. This procedure will need to be under constant review to ensure the process is relevant and clear for your team. Combining this step with tip 2 will equal a winning combination.
When my holiday insurance firm finally contacted me, I was offered £50 for any inconvenience they had caused. I didn’t want the money. My intention was to ensure the issues I’d faced didn’t happen again to others using the company and I was honestly a bit shocked that they thought that resolving the problem with money was a considerate and fair approach. A reimbursement is appropriate in some cases however your clients want to feel valued and listened to.
4. Learn from your mistakes and try and nip issues in the bud before your clients feel they need to make a complaint or leave a bad review. Understanding and getting to know your clients will also help if a complaint is received because you’ll have an existing relationship with them and know how to approach the situation based on their needs. Learning from the mistakes of other businesses can also help you fine tune this process and always bear in mind that one approach doesn’t fit all. Communicating clearly and setting out transparent timescales for when issues will be resolved will refine the process and help keep your clients happy.
Any kind of feedback is a great gift. As I mentioned earlier, receiving positive comments about how your business is functioning is hugely motivating for your team and it’s always nice to be complimented. Negative feedback on the other hand gives you an opportunity to adjust and improve things that could be done better.