What can you do if a customer has complained about your company – perhaps loudly, all over the internet? After wincing and licking your wounds, recognize that customer complaints can be an opportunity for growth. Yes, they might be painful to hear, but they are a part of developing a stronger business and a better reputation.
Finding the Kernel of Truth
While customer complaints may be the result of someone who enjoys complaining, there is usually a kernel of truth in each one. It's your job as an agency to discover where that truth is and then address it. Complaints can come for many different reasons, including:
A lack of clarity. Your expectations and the client's expectations are different.
A product that doesn't satisfy. While part of this involves clarity about what your product actually is, once you can articulate what your product is, you need to be able to provide this to the best of your ability. According to Small Business, "small businesses, who might still be in the early stages of developing their products and services, are at high risk of making mistakes."
Poor customer service. Your empathy, timeliness, or any other of a number of different customer service skills are not on point.
Feelings of unfairness. If you treat one client one way and another client another way, this can lead to complaints because what you're doing is not fair.
Connecting With People Is Key to Restoring Your Reputation
When someone complains about your company, you know what did not work for that person. However, when you hear multiple complaints in the same vein, you know that something could be awry.
How can you turn complaints into growth opportunities for your company? Addressing customer complaints and restoring your agency's reputation involves building connections with your clients. This means that first and foremost, you need to listen to what people are saying. Determine where there are trends, and at the same time, try to address individual issues so that your reputation is not being damaged.
According to McKinsey, "organizations need to enhance their listening skills so that they are sufficiently aware of emerging issues; to reinvigorate their understanding of, and relationships with, critical stakeholders; and to go beyond traditional PR…." By listening for the key issues that frustrate your clients, you can identify areas of growth for your agency. On an individual level, when clients feel that you are listening to them and addressing their problems, they also feel more satisfied.
How Should You Change?
When you're changing in response to customer complaints, that doesn't necessarily mean that you need to hire new people or offer new products. Clients are seeking to:
Understand what you offer
Know whether that offer is appropriate for them
Be able to find information about what you offer
Connect with any questions about your insurance products
Have a satisfying customer interaction from start to finish
Feel like their insurance coverage is what they expected should they need to use their insurance
Some of your changes to your company could involve better-written material about what you offer. Other changes could involve customer service training or offering new insurance products to your clients. By listening to complaints, you identify needs and gaps that your clients are experiencing and the corresponding gaps in products, communication, or training at your company.
In addition to addressing the specific complaint that a client has, you can see complaints as a source of information about the needs of your market and your agency's specific challenges within that market. This allows your company to become stronger as you address those challenges within your business.
At American Agents Alliance, we strive to provide you with the support you need to grow as an insurance agency. Contact us today to see how you can become part of our insurance network.