05 May Customer Complaints
Nobody likes customer complaints! But what can we learn from them? Let’s take a look….
How to Turn Your Customer Complaints into Business Benefits
Published: May 31, 2017 by Rieva Lesonsky
“Social media and online reviews have given your customers unprecedented abilities to complain about your business in front of the world. While that may sound like a bad thing, hearing the hard truth about your business via customer complaints can actually benefit you in the long run. What do customers complain about most—and what can you learn from it?
Poor customer service is the top cause of customer complaints, a study by Corra reports. More than half (52 percent) of survey respondents say they would complain about a service issue, 31.4 percent about a product problem, and 16.6 percent about a policy issue.
Chief among the specific service issues that motivate complaints are rude customer service reps, poor service at a store, uninformed customer service reps and slow service at check-in.
But the initial problem a customer has with your product or service isn’t your only concern. More than half of respondents say they are likely to complain publicly if a company doesn’t adequately resolve a product or service problem. In other words, you can mess up once, but if you don’t make it right, you’re in trouble.
What motivates customers to post complaints on social media or write negative online reviews? Overall, their goals are altruistic: Nearly three-fourths (73.2 percent) say they hope to save other people from having the same bad experience. About half (48.3 percent) want to get a refund, 39.7 percent want the company to change its policies, and 38.9 percent want to receive an apology. Just 13.5 percent post negative feedback because they want to damage a company’s reputation.
Hidden Benefits of Customer Complaints
What’s the takeaway for your business? While things inevitably go wrong from time to time, the way that your customer service team responds to mishaps can be the deciding factor in whether a customer slams your business on social media or sings your praises. Customers are much more forgiving than you may think: A whopping 89 percent of customers say they will give a company a second chance after a poor experience. Since customers are rooting for your business to make things right, resolving an issue to a customer’s satisfaction can actually make them more loyal than before the initial problem took place.
How can you ensure that your small business’s customer service stands out?
Avoid frustrating situations like accidentally hanging up on customers or keeping them on endless hold by choosing a business phone system that makes it easy to transfer calls between multiple devices.
Offer customers a variety of options for connecting with your customer service, from phone calls to live chat and email. When customers can reach out to you in the format they prefer, they’ll feel more positively toward your business.
Use unified communications to ensure that you and your team are always available, whether in the office or on the road, and can easily access the information needed to give customers the service they want.
Avoid growing pains by selecting a cloud-based communications system that easily scales up so it can grow with your business.”
UsefulFeedback continues our learning on the benefit of customer complaints…….
Author: Michael Hill
“The customer who complains to any business or organisation should be valued because many (or maybe the majority??) dissatisfied customers will simply take their business elsewhere and not even give you an opportunity to respond and act – but possibly tell many others about the bad experience. Even in non-profit environments, customers may seek to find alternative solutions that can incur more costs for the organisation and, of course, they will also let others know about their experience.
But isn’t this in many ways similar to our own personal relationships? Let’s consider some phrases that we might use when a relationship experiences problems:
“I really care for you and I want us to stay together.”
“Do you really want to end this relationship?”
“Why don’t you speak to me?”
“Why do you find it so hard to say sorry?”
“Why can’t you acknowledge my hurt?”
“Why don’t you care?”
Comments from a marriage counseling session? Possibly. But they could also be comments of customers who are feeling unloved, who want a relationship to blossom but a problem has been allowed to grow and grow until the relationship breaks down with no chance of reconciliation.
It’s such a let down when you tell someone you trust about a problem and they either do nothing or do little more than utter a few, vaguely interested reassurances in a weak attempt to resolve the problem. None of us are perfect and most of us are accepting of the odd mistake but we do expect to engage in a dialogue to make sure that something is done to put things right and prevent the problem from happening again.
But how do you treat these loyal customers who want an ongoing relationship with you? Do you make it easy for them to talk to you?
Up to two-thirds of dissatisfied customers do complain to the provider of the purchased product or service but many remained unheard. Why? Because the available channels are too limited and restrictive – businesses too often require the complaining customer to use the channels that the business prefers and so many customers have to go to a great deal of effort to have any concerns properly heard – spending valuable time writing and posting a complaint but often then faced with little opportunity to discuss the problem experienced with someone who is able to grasp ownership of the complaint and direct the process in achieving resolution.
Sometimes, communication within a relationship breaks down and we need some external help to get the relationship back on track. We may rely on the support of friends and family or we may get professional support through counseling and mediation. We can do the same in complaint management – having processes in place that allow for experienced internal or external complaint handlers to mediate and help both parties to find a solution that gets them communicating again and allows the rebuilding of the relationship.
But sometimes, the solution is separation and we have to recognize that sometimes we must let go of a customer. But we need to do so in a way that is understanding and clearly communicated.
Do you measure the customer feedback experience – do you understand the expectations of the complaining customer and how often do you match those expectations? Do you reassure your customers by letting them know how you develop and change for the better by listening to their comments? How often are you learning from your customers and acting on their feedback? Bill Gates, in Businss @ The Speed of Thought, made the great statement on value of the complaining customer: “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning”.
Key learning points
Many businesses still look on complainants as those customers who are difficult and impossible to satisfy but businesses who value the complaining customer build loyalty, increase customer retention and build a good reputation in the marketplace. Yet, research continues to prove that consumers consider effective complaint and problem resolution processes to be a key differentiator for those businesses with good reputations in their marketplace.
If you want to build long and loving relationships with your customers then:
Always be open to discussing problems with your customers
Listen and empathize – consider the reasons behind the dissatisfaction and hurt
Be personal and caring – don’t brush them aside with automated, standard responses
Say sorry and acknowledge the problem – even if you believe you are not in the wrong
Show your affection when you’re in the wrong – but don’t overdo it!
Give customers and complaint handlers access to someone who can come in to mediate when a solution cannot be found but a continued relationship is still required
Take time to think about your actions and look at ways to improve the way you do things in future”
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