Most company personnel shudder when asked about consumer complaints. They act as if they are listening but tune out the complaints when they should take a pad and pencil and take notes for your R&D department. People in general do not like confrontation or anything that resembles anger, anxiety, bickering, tension and everything else experienced by customer service personnel.
You need great ideas so ask. The value in this exchange is the great ideas that come from hearing the buyer give you a piece of their mind. The best you can do is listen and ask them how they would change the ‘defective’ or difficult product you sell. Listen for these the ideas of a new and improved version that just might take off very profitably, a great idea.
Consider what great innovations each of these comments could trigger:
- Can’t somebody sell a (product) that doesn’t weigh so much? Make a comment about the suggestion might be a good one and further ask why the person wants a lighter version? The reasons could spawn many more innovative ideas, if only your employees will listen. (Redesign a lighter version, thinner material or lighter material)
- Does this (product name) come in more colors? (add colors, patterns, branding ideas). Ask what color they thought about and envisioned your product. Do not just yawn and miss an opportunity.
- I wish your (product) were just slightly narrower, then it would fit very nicely in my car cup holder, otherwise I have to place it on the seat and it slides off all of the time. (Is this a new use for your product that was not considered?)
- Does this (product) come in a cheaper version? All I want to do with this thing is…. (Design a stripped down cheaper version with less options to be sold in low priced store chains away from the normal product).
- Do you have a store in (anyplace, USA)? (consider the location of your market and your store locations; do you need another store or should you rent out a portion of a store in that area to see the viability first before buying real estate?)
- It would sure be nice if your product also did one or more of the following (fill in the action). Note: Find out how your customers use your product and expand from there. Consider other uses that can be added to your product which will differentiate it from the market.
- I saw your product in Europe or something similar but their product which was sold on the market: a.) did not have …, b.) featured the following extras… c.) came in unique patterns I have never seen here, d.) was bundled in a particularly useful bag or wrapper that can be reused, e.) was lighter than yours, f.) had a built-in light, g.) had a built-in camera, h.) had a built-in carrying strap, i.) had an add-on wrapper, j.) came with optional items one could order through the mail, k.) had a flashlight built-in, l.) was made for women and for men both, m.) was child-proof, n.) was not difficult to operate like yours, o.) offered in glass or a cheaper plastic version.