5 lessons from Bill Gates to apply now

Give those noisy wheels the grease they deserve. You could simply make your entire business run more smoothly by applying these teachings from Bill Gates.

Every company deals with bad customers. People complain because they want something for free, because they had a bad day, or because they just felt like it. However, not all complaints are created equal, and not all customers who complain are bad.

One of Bill Gates’ great teachings is in his book Business @ the Speed ​​of Thought: “Your unhappiest customers are your best source of learning”. Most unhappy customers don’t enjoy being unhappy—something about the company, product, or customer service experience made them that way. By listening to these customers’ valid complaints, companies can identify their shortcomings and turn dissatisfied buyers into satisfied brand advocates.

According to Walker research, customer experience will overtake price and product quality as the top competitive differentiator for sellers in 2020. People know they can find good prices online and rely on reviews to discover which products They are worth your money. However, when it comes to experience, it’s up to individual businesses to provide memorable, personalized experiences that keep customers coming back.

At Microsoft, Gates’ words have not faded into the past. The tech giant still practices what its founder preaches, including with resellers, suppliers, and service providers. Microsoft actively trains and assists its partners in marketing and customer service, passing on its years of knowledge and experience to help smaller businesses create more positive interactions with customers.

Good customer experiences depend on open dialogue. While happy customers are great, unhappy customers show businesses where they need to improve to keep the experience positive. Follow these steps to turn negative customer feedback into a force for good.

Nothing frustrates angry customers more than canned responses. Irritated people want to be heard, not appeased. Show customers that their complaints matter by listening to them and recording the results. If several people complain about the same thing, something is wrong. Whether it’s misaligned product feature expectations or an employee rubbing people the wrong way, repeated complaints deserve serious investigation.

Don’t assume experience is to blame before evaluating how the product relates to customer displeasure. Is this particular product defective or does the offering include a critical gap that prevents some customers from using it effectively? Would a different product do for the customer what the initial product couldn’t? Answer these questions first to see if the problem is deeper than human interactions.

If unhappy customers seem to have valid concerns but can’t provide enough information to clarify the specific issue, don’t act for the sake of action. Send surveys to find out the types of changes customers would like to see. Email or call people who have had bad experiences and talk about what went wrong and what they’d like to see next time. Not only does this clarify the problem, but these communications can also return dissatisfied customers by showing that the company is willing to change.

The last of Bill Gates’ teachings is related to speed. With customer information in hand that points to a specific problem, act quickly to prevent bad experiences from occurring in the future. Sometimes, that means creating more detailed product instructions to avoid confusion. Other times, it means leaving employees who refuse to make customer satisfaction a priority. Keep team members incentivized to deliver good experiences by tying bonuses and recognition to excellent customer service.

Dissatisfied customers don’t have to stay that way. By listening to their complaints, evaluating potential improvements, and addressing their concerns, businesses can win back dissatisfied customers and prevent their negative experiences from becoming the norm.