Reward the Complainers

Jul 01, 2002

This may take some getting used to, but the next time a client complains about any facet of your facility— no matter how small or trivial it may seem to you—be sure to thank the person.

Research indicates that approximately 96% of all customers who have complaints about either your service or products skip the complaint stage and take their dollars directly to a competitor. Research also indicates that unhappy customers will tell eight to 10 people about their dissatisfaction with your company. This isn’t exactly the word-of-mouth advertising you want spread around town!

So, the next time someone complains about locker rooms being messy, equipment being out of order, or lack of floor staff, thank the person for providing you with the opportunity to fix the problem. Once you have resolved the issue to the customer’s satisfaction, most complainers will remain loyal to your company. Why? Because you followed through on fixing the first problem, they trust you will listen and take care of any complaints they may have in the future.

Source: The Competent Leader: A Powerful and Practical Tool Kit for Managers and Supervisors, by Jane S. Flaherty & Peter B. Stark (1999, Amherst, MA: HRD Press Inc.).

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