We are all familiar with customer complaint hotlines in their various forms - in many ways it admits a certain kind of defeat where we are saying "we are ready for you to complain about something". In fact it looks like these businesses are so certain that people will complain that they have gone to great lengths to be ready for the complaints to come flowing in.

Of course the message they are trying to send is that they listen. I used to feel that, but now I'm not so sure. Lets be honest, most of the organizations that have dedicated customer complaint hotlines and emails really do need them, which of course says a lot.

How about instead of customer complaint hot lines we replace them with "customer compliment hot lines" where we encourage people to reach out immediately to let us know when we've done something worthy of a compliment?

The same applies with a "Customer Compliment Dedicated Email" just to send in those messages to acknowledge when we do well. In fact we need to try and find as many ways as we possibly can to encourage our customers to compliment us on a job well done.

We make it really easy for people to complain, lets make  it much easier for them to compliment.

What would change in your organization if you changed your mindset from expecting customers to complain and instead you started to expect them to send wonderful compliments? Is it naive of me to think that people will try harder to deliver great service in an attempt to get more compliments?

So I'm going to suggest that you do a social experiment. Encourage your customers to send urgent compliments - and thank them profusely for making the effort to do that. Make it really easy for them to send these wonderful compliments and make sure you pass them onto your team. And if you aren't getting regular compliments, perhaps you need to rethink a few things in your business.

Published on: Jan 24, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.