Customer Complaints Are Key To Customer Retention
By Adrian Swinscoe, Director, RARE Business
Let’s play a game of word association. If I said: ‘Customer complaints!’, what would you say? Any of the following?
- Customers are tricky and they are forever trying to get stuff for free.
- Some of my customers are real idiots
- Is there no end to what they will complain about?
- Why don’t they just read my email and the instructions and everything would be okay
- They only ever complain about minor stuff
- Why can’t they say anything positive
When faced with a customer complaint, how do you react? Do you:
- Tremble with fear
- Put your ‘dukes’ up...
...or adopt a Crouching Tiger-like defensive stance ; or
- seek to listen and engage?
The reason I ask these questions is that how we think about customers and customer complaints is key to how we react to them. And, what happens and how we react when first faced with a customer complaint is hugely important in creating the lasting impression that we make on the customer.
In reality, all a customer complaint really is is a statement of how someone has been let down and how something or other has not met their expectations. Right?
But, it is also an opportunity for a business to respond, to listen, to show they care and to solve a problem.
Seen like this, when a customer complains to a business it’s like giving the business a gift (sometimes it can look and feel like it is in disguise, I admit) but it is up to the business to decide how and if it wants to carefully open this gift to see what’s inside.
Because complaining customers are still customers... and customers who take time to complain still have some confidence in the business. In most cases, it is less of a hassle just to take their business... continued on page two >