“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” -Bill Gates

At the core of every business is a desire to improve the products, services, and operations that drive productivity. To get better, companies must accept change as a part of the process. While change has a tendency to overwhelm, change should be a welcome friend to any business eager to keep and earn more customers. Change brings advancement. Change tweaks the mediocre to become something outstanding. Change brings opportunity. One of the best sources for feedback to facilitate positive change comes directly from one of the toughest audiences known to business owners: Unhappy customers.

A brand’s unhappy customers unveil the imperfections of the brand — a threat most brands still try to brush under the rug. Hiding imperfections in the digital age is like covering a hole in a parachute with duct tape, and jumping out of an airplane…eventually anyone taking this “bandaid” approach will realize that, by not properly fixing the problem, a critical error has been made. While the parachute example is extreme, the moral of the story rings true. Companies can’t expect to improve and advance a brand when the team spends time trying to hide imperfections instead of working to resolve issues and improve the brand.

It’s time for more brands to embrace opportunity for change. View complaints as a gift. Listening to unhappy customers is one of the keys to unlocking maximum potential. While it feels like unhappy customers are simply criticizing the brand and the products or services they’re dissatisfied with, the reality is that unhappy customers’ feedback is providing brands with valuable data. Every brand needs consumer feedback both positive and negative in order to make changes and keep those customer relationships strong. This is what forges the path to additional customer opportunities. By listening to unhappy customers, brands may be able to identify flaws in services, or pinpoint innovations for product improvement. Learn from unhappy customers. They may be giving your brand the answers you’ve been looking for.