Most businesses define customer problems as unwanted headaches, obstacles, messes, and predicaments. The exceptional ones don’t. Exceptional leaders understand problems are usually of our own making and they take the responsibility for them.
They see problems as opportunities to learn and improve because they:
- Understand that high customer satisfaction scores are too often artificial.
- Acknowledge customers’ problems are very real and not to be ignored or dismissed.
- Commit to actively seeking and investigating problems. The more we look for problems, the more we find and the less we are likely to be taken by surprise or act too slowly.
Fast Company says “Acknowledging and learning from mistakes allows you to lead by example, and encourages your team to see mistakes not as the end of the line, but as the beginning of growth.”
Harvard Business Review says the real definition of leadership is whether we treat problems as things to be avoided or challenges to be taken on. When we see problems as challenges, we turn them into situations that test our abilities. If we have good people, they should necessarily be good problem-solvers who know how to turn problems into opportunities.
Maybe it’s better service, or products that are easier to use or do a better job than they do now. The biggest opportunity is in customer service. Studies show 80% of companies claim to provide superior customer service, but only 8% of their customers agree. This enormous disconnect means 90% of all companies could benefit by providing better customer service than they do now. The opportunity common to all companies is to be more courteous, more efficient, and more helpful. The way to find the opportunities specific to your business is to seek out those of your customers with problems and ask them what you should be doing differently. Only a handful of exceptional companies do this.
Everyone knows problems are inevitable, so we don’t expect a perfect world.
What is important is what the company does about our problems when we have them. Research shows customers who have their problems solved quickly, courteously, and professionally often become more loyal customers than those who never had a problem.
Engineers like to say the glass is twice as large as it needs to be,