One way or another, complaints happen. Do you flinch when you hear the word, "complaint?"
Most people miss the inherent information at a complaint’s core due to their emotional response to it. People tend to justify, defend, deny or place blame elsewhere. None of these strategies addresses the deeper meaning of the message. The question is, "How does your work environment handle bad news?"
The role of an effective leader is threefold:
1. Encourage the free flow of honest and unfiltered feedback into your organization.
2. Create a safe environment to receive constructive criticism.
3. Improve the systems. Consider the feedback within the larger scope of the organization’s goals and projects.
When planning your customer service feedback strategies, set up a process to address it positively and improve the relationships. Although it sounds like a euphemism, feedback is an opportunity for improvement.
But what about the complaints that contradict each other? We all know you can't make everyone happy. Instead, focus on the root of the issue. Usually it is a person's expectations that aren’t being met. You may have a crowd of people with different expectations.
That's to be expected. The role of a leader is to consider the bigger picture to find what they have in common and handle it at that level.
But what about when something really goes wrong?How do you handle when people make big mistakes?
If you say to yourself, "We don't make mistakes," then we would make a bold statement that your office either isn't a safe place to admit mistakes, thereby encouraging people to hide and cover up errors, or your organization is not taking big enough risks in the projects and services it offers. Playing it small and safe may be comfortable, but is it serving the grand vision of your organization's mission statement?
Golden opportunities may be hidden within the constructive criticisms, negative feedback and complaints. By addressing your critics' comments and debriefing mistakes openly, your organization will shorten its learning curve to improvement. You'll be more prepared to take advantage of new and innovative circumstances.
As a leader in your organization, task yourself with answering the question, "What are the mistakes revealing about the organization?" Surprisingly, the answers may delight you.
Jason W. Womack, MEd, MA, and Jodi Womack, MA, founded their personal development education company, which enhances organizational performance through customized training and coaching. For more Workplace Performance tips, visit www.JasonWomack.com.