Re-think Customer Complaints

Each time a customer makes the effort to complain, it’s a chance to make things right.

Even those customers who are frustrated or angry often want to keep doing business with your company otherwise, they wouldn’t have bothered to complain. Knowing that can help you stay in the

right frame of mind — positive, proactive, and focused on turning around the customer’s attitude by the end of the call.

The fact is, it’s the customers who don’t complain who hurt an organization. A well-known study by TARP, a customer satisfaction and loyalty research firm, revealed that half of all consumers and 25 percent of business customers who experience problems never complain to anyone at the company — they simply take their business elsewhere.

Here’s another TARP statistic that you may have heard: Customers who have a bad experience with a company tell their story to 20 people, on average. If you have ever been poorly treated by a company (and who hasn’t at some point?), you know this is true. Telling our service horror stories to friends, coworkers, and family members helps to relieve some of the frustration we’ve experienced. It’s human nature.

But customers also tend to remember, and talk about, outstanding service experiences (also human nature). In fact, customers who have had their complaints handled quickly and satisfactorily are far more loyal than those who have never had a problem with your company.

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