“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
– Bill Gates
When customer complaint is the topic for discussion, the agenda would usually include what it is, how to handle it, how it affects the business. However, how customers can complain and how it impacts customer satisfaction is not commonly talked about.
Customer complaints are very important and should not be ignored. When customers complain, they are telling that there is an opportunity to fix something. It can be about your product, customer treatment, etc. Most of the time, customers who complain are sincere about the complaint and will provide unbiased feedback. Though some may exaggerate, bottom line is, something triggered the complaint and you need to address the root cause.
If your company rarely receives customer complaints, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your business is doing great and there’s nothing that’s making your customers unhappy. The customers who do not complain are more inclined to tell their family, friends, or colleagues about the experience.
The US firm TARP (now known as CX Act) conducted a customer service research wherein he showed that around 1- 5% (1 – 3 out of 50) that were “wronged” by a company complained to higher management , 45% complained to agents or branch frontline personnel, and 50% did not complain. This is what’s called “The Tip of the Iceberg Phenomemon”.
According to the research, customers don’t complain for four reasons:
1. It won’t do any good.
2. It’s not worth the trouble.
3. I don’t know where to complain.
4. I am afraid of retribution (the employee or company will counterattack).
Looking at the 4 reasons in TARP’s research, the 1st, 2nd, and 4th reasons maybe results of either firsthand experience or experiences shared by family, friends, or colleagues that resulted from customer complaints that were not handled properly. If you are able to address the complaints effectively and efficiently, then you can turn complaints to a positive experience. Customers will now start thinking that “it’s good to complain”, “it’s worth the trouble”, and “I don’t need to be afraid”.
The 3rd reason on the other hand is the first step for customer complaint. If you are able to ensure that your customers know where and how to file their complaint with the least effort needed, this is already a way of encouraging them to tell you instead of just telling others. If a customer doesn’t know where and how to file a complaint and depending on the gravity of the concern, more often than not, they won’t exert any effort to do so. However, make it easy for the customers to find out where and how to complain, then you can expect the aforementioned phenomenon to happen less frequent.
RetailWise USA can help you develop an effective and efficient customer complaint management system to entice more customers to file complaints and how to properly handle each one. With the huge potential in improving your business through customer complaints, the same set of valuable information can be further analyzed to formulate critical business changes, improvements, and decisions.