Thoughts From Vacation – Some Customers Will Never be Happy

Another random thought I had on vacation back in November.
Watching our fellow cruise passengers on group excursions or at
meals was an interesting experience. Most, like us, were simply
excited to have some time away and saw the whole thing as a big
adventure, but there were a few who simply seemed to find something
to complain about at every turn. Some of the time it was something
that one of the crew could fix for them, but they typically only
complained to themselves instead of asking for help, or refused
offers to make it better, and sometimes they would complain to the
staff and expect them to fix things that were well beyond their
control.

Fog
Sure it’d be
great if every time to you took a trip to photograph nature the
weather cooperated, but sometimes you have to make do, and
complaining about it won’t make the sun shine
.

As I pondered the absurdity of some of the complaints, I
realized that there are simply some people who will always find
something to complain about. Trying to respond to these people is
not the same as responding to normal feedback from customers. In
service industries, like training, we solicit feedback from our
customers after every class in the form of surveys. Unfortunately,
most customers don’t bother to fill out the surveys. Those who do
are usually highly motivated, either because they had a great
experience, or a lousy one, and the ones who had a lousy one are
always more motivated than those who had great ones. That’s the
reality of that feedback.

Some of the feedback is quite valuable. If you’re doing something right, it’s good to have that confirmed. If you’re missing something, it’s great to be able to hear that,
and adjust accordingly. But sometimes, you get feedback that just
doesn’t make sense. On a ship, you get complaints about weather, or
local rules and customs. It might make for some things to think
about, but there’s not much you can do to satisfy those customers.
Other feedback falls more under the description of complaining for
the sake of complaining. These customers don’t want you to fix it,
they are unhappy about something, and want to voice that
unhappiness. Any attempt to actually help them is usually met with
resistance. Those of you who’ve ever worked a help desk know the
type, they call and yell and scream, then when you suggest they
simply try something else that might work better, they hang up or
yell some more. Spend too much time trying to fix the complaints of
this group, and you wind up chasing your tail. They’ll find
something else to complain about, and the customers who you really
should care about, wind up getting less and less of your attention.

That’s no way to run a business. Instead of trying to fix every
complaint, spend more time figuring out how to best serve the
majority of your customers, and know that some will complain
anyway.

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