How to Handle Criticism

customer complains

By Roland Bates

Take a second and imagine the world’s best restaurant. It’s been voted on and they have their “World’s Best Restaurant” plaque proudly displayed for all to see. Guess what? Every day and without fail someone will say the potatoes are too salty, someone will say it’s too dark, too loud, too expensive, the wait was too long and there’s not enough parking. But they are the world’s best restaurant. What is a merely pretty darn good restaurant to expect? Roses are red, violets are blue–I overpaid for my steak and so did you! Okay, that was horrible but I’m trying to fill a blog.

Every business and every professional gets some complaints, justified or not. At NPI/GPI our franchisees don’t get a lot of complaints. When the franchisee invites the client along for the inspection, the client can see firsthand how hard the franchisee works. That the franchisee is looking out for their best interest. The client can see that our franchisees have the training, tools and know how to do the job. And once the franchisee walks the client through the property, pointing out issues and explaining things of interest, their clients tend to be more than satisfied. Thus, not a lot of complaints for NPI/GPI franchisees.

On the rare occasion when a franchisee does get a complaint, we have a tried and true process for dealing with it. The first and most important step is to listen and not get defensive and immediately push back. The client might have a valid complaint or simply want to get something off their chest–hearing that you or your inspector left the light on in the basement, or left the thermostat set at 75 instead of 70 is not the end of the world. A simple thank you for calling and a quick apology is all that’s necessary.

National Property Inspections, Inc. Corporate has occasionally acted as an intermediary between the franchisee and a client to amicably resolve an issue. Otherwise, NPI/GPI franchisees have the training, support, access to webinars, step-by step “How To” manual and the like to deal with an occasional complaint.

A closing word about a complaint/review on websites. NPI/GPI clients have the ability to leave a review on franchisee websites. And most of the time those reviews are positive. On the rare occasion when one is not, a thoughtful, respectful and well-reasoned reply shows that the franchisee is listening, cares and is a true professional. A professional response to a negative review more than legitimizes all the other positive reviews.

Roland’s focus is on managing National Property Inspections, Inc., and developing long-term planning and goals for the business. He also works hands-on with new franchise owners and helps train them on how to operate and grow their businesses. Roland’s high energy, willingness to work hard and optimistic outlook are the cornerstones of the success for NPI. His easy manner and family attitude inspire a friendly and close atmosphere at the compan

Before he founded NPI in 1987, Roland owned a general contracting company, where he worked for eight years as a general contractor. Prior to that, he spent five years as a property claims supervisor and regional claims manager.

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