5 reasons you should encourage your customers to complain

Customers Complaints Will Force You To Improve Your Product/Business

My experience over the last 10 years running my own businesses tells me that inviting complaints from customers is one of the very best ways to improve customer retention.

I would urge you to go and ask all your customers to tell you what they think – right now. Why?

1. You aren’t getting the whole story about your business.

The vast majority of unhappy customers (research shows around 96%) don’t bother to complain, they simply walk away. So you’re only hearing from 4% of your unhappy customers. Imagine what the other 96% would tell you. Think about what that 96% are saying to their peers about your company. Imagine what you could start, stop or keep doing as a result of asking for their feedback and taking appropriate action as a result. Imagine what this could do for your company’s customer retention statistics.

2. Bad news about your business travels faster than good

A study by the University of Nottingham has shown that

“80% will vent their anger to at least ten people
and 20% sound off to at least 20 others !”

The internet has made this phenomenon even more dangerous. Every customer now has the equivalent of a front-page article in the New York Times by creating an amusing post or video article. So it’s even more essential to fix customer problems before they hit social media. Ask for the problems as soon as you can and fix them quickly.

3. Fixing problems turns angry customers into loyal advocates

Jake Poore, who looked after “service recovery” for Disney says, “everyone makes mistakes, that’s human.

But how do you solicit those mistakes and rectify them so that the story is now possibly better than if there were no mistake at all?”

He makes the point that customers who go home mad tell their story, whereas those who go home happy tell your story. Often a bad experience that was turned around makes for a happier customer and a better story than a customer who had a good experience in the first place.

4. Your staff will be more focused on making the customer happy.

If customer service is important to you, and you demonstrate it at every opportunity by asking customers how you can improve, your staff will become acutely aware of how their actions impact customer satisfaction. It becomes part of the fabric of the way you do business.

At Zappos for example, all new staff regardless of role, spend time in the customer service department taking customer calls.

5. Soliciting customers’ complaints and fixing them builds a remarkable business.

Many companies struggle to keep the customer at the heart of their business. Over time, processes, new staff and market changes can obscure the original vision of the business and make it difficult to be truly customer-centric. The best customer-serving businesses never lose sight of what their customer really wants.

By constantly and proactively listening you can introduce little touches that make customers really happy, without breaking the bank. These touches make doing business with you more interesting… making you more talked-about in the process.

Rackspace for example wants to be the ‘best business you’ve ever interacted with’. This goal keeps them focused  Ultimately, the more feedback you solicit, the more you can tailor your service to your best customers, fix problems when they arise and keep them for life.

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Download our free eBook now, “Are your ears burning yet? 10 reasons you should encourage your customers to complain”. No email address needed.

See what that does for your customer retention – and let us know how you get on.

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1 reply
  1. K Donlin
    K Donlin says:

    Excellent, very counter-intuitive points! I hop you’ve opened some eyes to the fact that a customer service “recovery” can be as valuable as delivering good service the first time. Not that you should cause complaints in order to recover from them — that’s like hitting yourself in the head with a hammer because it feels so good when you stop. But small business owners shouldn’t run from complaints — they should rush to solve them, then encourage customers to share their new-found happiness with others.

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