Keep Those Complaints Coming
By George Anderson
It’s the complaints you never hear that will kill your business. According to a study from Customer Champions out of the U.K., most consumers on the other side of the Atlantic will not even let companies know about their unhappiness because they believe the resolution, if any occurs, will not be satisfactory nor worth their time and effort.
One of the major obstacles to resolving customer unhappiness is the consumer perception that companies make it difficult to complain in the first place.
Businesses typically handle complaints as part of financial dealings concerning purchase refunds or exchanges, for example, but, according to Customer Champions’ research, consumers are most interested in knowing that they have been heard.
Another factor determining consumer happiness with complaint resolutions comes down to speed. Many businesses never become aware of problems because unhappy customers cannot be bothered taking the time to go through the complaint process.
Colin Bates, managing director for Customer Champions, told TheWiseMarketer.com, “This finding has been borne out through our client-specific work, where the speed of resolution has had a major impact upon satisfying customers and minimizing long-term financial effects, such as boycotting.”
Boycotting, particularly the kind that stores are unaware of, is a serious issue. According to Customer Champions, men who are unhappy with how their complaints are addressed are likely to stay away from a business for an average of 10 years. Women tend to be more forgiving, with the average boycott of a business lasting five years.
Moderator’s Comment: What are your do’s and don’ts for encouraging consumers to provide retailers with feedback and
for resolving complaints? What retailers do the best job of turning consumer complaints into business opportunities for themselves? –
George Anderson – Moderator