Complaint-Compliment Balance

The billions spent on ‘communications’ by huge multi-nationals are hardly far the the spotlight at any time. Right now, neither BP nor the American Government are providing a case study in how to conduct crisis management. And can there be any supposedly altruistic organisation that gets such a pasting in the press and general public conversations as FIFA?

In the middle of their quadrennial place in the sun, at every turn they seem to alienate, frustrate and distance themselves from their core constituents. Admittedly, much of this has to do with their gaffe-prone boss, yet the constant connections to at worst, corruption and malpractice and at best incompetence and foolishness could, in my opinion, be so easily avoided.

Locally in S Africa, media column inches that question FIFA run into miles. Most scathingly criticise. Whereas I’ve found only the occasional sentence in their favour. Unsurprising of course, but surely so avoidable. FIFA just aren’t doing enough to promote all the good that they purport to bring to grass roots initiatives. They need way less Miss World pageant at Soccer City photo opps and way more football-powering-social-change successes.

And so I myself was in Cape Town’s terrific new stadium the other day. It was cold and I quite fancied the look of an England t-shirt. The young lady at the official FIFA kiosk inside told me it was 250 rand. Against my better judgement, I paid. When I got back to my digs, I was appalled to see that the label (tucked into the garment at time of purchase) actually stated the price as just 200. FIFA had diddled me by 25%.

I have since managed to track down a possible way to complain direct online, after all I can’t exactly go back to the stadium and get my 50 back now, can I? My hopes are depressingly low. All FIFA will likely see is an addition to the mountain in negative reality of the low esteem in which they’re held on sites such as hellopeter. If even, they care.

Yet this unsavoury experience brings to light a conundrum for any solution seller involved in account management.

How do we deal with disgruntled clients?

Do you keep a kind of customer service log?

These are notoriously difficult to pull off.

The problem is that it shifts focus onto the bad, always away from the good. if you track every time a query is raised then, even if alongside each is its resolution, a audit is created of mistakes. Whether or not they’re justified, perception is that they are errors. At contract renewal time, these could kill any re-sign, how ever unmerited.

SLAs increasingly demand such traceability. In such case, you absolutely balance out realities. In a similar fashion to how FIFA could. Each time something good happens, diligently log it. Remember that something good could actually be something bad not happening. Actively seek out the good stuff, get clients to express their thirtieth successive uninterrupted day of usage, the hours your service continues to save them, the hassle-free update just complete, the helpful help-desk, the pleasure at the new upgrade. Anything and everything to ensure that sometime in the future, no-one can say that working with you is a constant litany of problems and errors.

Subscribe to Salespodder

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.