After a complaint, promise to do better.
And here are some additional thoughts on this topic…
A while ago I saw an interview of Dell’s Chief Information Officer. He was talking about some of the customer service problems Dell had been experiencing. While he answered many of the questions he failed to do several things, one of which stood out:
He never said they would do better.
The most important thing you can tell an unhappy customer is that you will do better. When you promise to do better you are giving them a reason to come back. If you neglect this you leave the door open for them to wonder what will change? A customer gives you feedback because they want you to improve, so they feel good about remaining your customer. But if you don’t promise to improve they might feel you don’t care about improving.
Next time you (as a customer) have a complaint, listen for those magic words “I promise to do better”. If you hear them, how does it feel? How much more confidence do you have in that person or company?