When a Customer Complains
President and Owner
Lead Valley Range LLC
Deer Trail, Colo.
Indian River County Shooting Range
Q. What complaint have you received from a customer/member in the last few months, and how have you addressed it?
A. Glenn Rotkovich, Lead Valley Range
The complaint we receive most often is that we are a long distance from the city. Over the years, I have come to believe that most complaints are not complaints but, in reality, are gripes. In other words, the member or future member is just trying to find out how you will deal with a problem and whether you are concerned about them and their needs. I find that the easiest way to deal with this is to ask the person to answer his or her own question.
For example, in this case I ask them what range is closer that they can use or join. The answer is usually “None.” (We have a shortage of ranges in the Denver area, and the clubs are at capacity.) At this point I show them that I do care about them and that they are important to me. I make a friend of them by showing concern for their worries. I change their thinking about their concerns, in this case the issue of distance, by showing them the benefits of joining our range and pointing toward all the fun and great experiences they will have at our facility.
I realized long ago that no one cares what I have to say until they know how much I care.
A. Holden Kriss, Indian River County Shooting Range
First off I am very fortunate that we do not get very many complaints, but when we do we try to implement a solution within a day or two. At the time of the complaint that customer gets full attention from management right away. We also want to make sure every customer leaves happy every time he or she visits our shooting range. As I write this early in the year, my last complaint was during the break between Christmas and New Year’s Day. The complaint was about waiting time to get on the rifle and pistol ranges and on 5-Stand.
Our solution was to come up with a waiting/squad sheet and put an employee at each location to take names and keep the waiting lines moving when we were really busy. That employee was also there to answer any last-minute questions about firearms and about range rules. With the 5-Stand the customers are put into squads of five.
We also tried to make sure there was a rotation, so everyone got to shoot at least one flight on 5-Stand before multiple flight shooters stepped back into the shooting cages. We also squadded people that came to the range together so they could have fun in a group.
Our shooting range now has 79,000 registered shooters, so being very busy is not always a good thing when providing proper customer service. I have always tried to address complaints with a positive, constructive remedy. Complaints can help you deliver a better shooting range experience.