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Customers’ Complaining? Why It’s A Boon For Your Business.

By Rose Bentley, CloudCherry, SVP – Sales & GM – North America.

Your business stinks!”

Now those aren’t my words, but the voice of an angry customer looking to give you a piece of their mind. Time to hit the panic button, right? Not so fast.

Most companies tend to get flustered when it comes to customer complaints, because they believe an upset customer equals bad business. But savvy retail enterprises are turning that antiquated notion on its head. That’s because they know a secret. We may hate those customer complaints, but for them it’s good for business. Here’s a few reasons why you need to embrace these complaints:

Frustrated customers don’t complain, they just leave.”

Highly upset customers tend to draw a lot of time and attention, but the reality is that most customers don’t complain after a poor experience. In fact, only about 4% say anything. But what about the other 96% of customers? Understanding their experiences is where true customer journey success lies. The most successful retailers are the ones most vigilant in seeking out the complaints that go unsaid. That is because those complaints gleam the keenest insights, and help improve their bottom line.

So, how can you get this silent majority to speak up, and not just walk away? Start by making it easy to complain. An omni-channel approach accomplishes this, engaging customers on a channel of their convenience and time of their choice. This strategy also offers the added benefit of a consistent customer experience journey across all the different touchpoints (in-store, email, social media, apps, etc.).

One speaks for many

When one customer complains, you can be sure that there are plenty more customers with a similar issue. They just haven’t spoken about it. Again, that’s referring to the silent majority that I mentioned earlier. By solving one customer’s problem, you are helping solve another person’s problem, and another, and yet another. Imagine all the relationships that can be saved by solving just one pressing issue. It’s almost infinite.

Complaints = Brand Loyalty Opportunity

The road to brand loyalty is paved with customer complaints. If a complaint is handled properly, not only can you earn the loyalty of the customer in question, but also other customers who are paying close attention. By showing customers you care and are willing to go the extra mile, you turn them into loyal evangelists: customers who promote your brand for you.

Tips for handling complaints the right way

The one caveat to customer complaints being great for your business is that they need to be handled properly. Here are five quick and easy tips that will help your business manage and address complaints effectively.

  1. Lend them your ears! Listening is a critical aspect of good complaint management, because you need to understand exactly why the customer is complaining. Studies show that customers expect a fine balance between the quality of service and the time taken to action it.
  2. It’s okay to say you’re sorry. If it’s your fault, own up to the mistake and apologize. If your intentions are sincere, customers tend to give you the benefit of the doubt.
  3. Do everything you can to fix the problem. If someone has a legitimate issue, don’t stop with an apology. You need to move quickly and solve it. Your customer service team should feel empowered to fix the issue, so that the management isn’t over-burdened.
  4. What’s the most overlooked step of handling customer complaints? It’s following up. A full 68% of customers leave a brand because they feel no one cares. Following up shows you value them as customers first and foremost and then the business they provide you.
  5. Don’t forget to delight. Offer something extra, such as a discount on their next transaction or a freebie. It’s the part of the interaction they will remember the most.

Customer complaints can be a great thing for your business if handled correctly. If you want to grow your business, dominate your industry and have an army of loyal customers, then start taking advantage of complaints through an effective and powerful customer complaint management process.

And when a customer says your business stinks? Don’t worry, it’s not the end of the line.”

You can learn and grow from it!

Rose Bentley serves as SVP – Sales & GM – North America at CloudCherry, a Voice of Customer product company with a global presence. Rose has over 10 years of leadership expertise in Sales and Customer Success. Previously, Rose led Revenue & Customer facing channels for Satmetrix, the co-creators of the Net Promoter Score and prior to that she led global Customer Success teams for Lyris. While at Lyris she spent a year abroad focused on market expansion for their APAC division based out of Australia. 

 

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