Why Customer Complaints Are Good For Your Business

Why Customer Complaints Are Good For Your Business

Post summary:

  • Complaint Analysis
  • How to handle customer complaints
  • Searching for complaints on the web

In today’s Internet-driven world, customers have more power than ever.

A satisfied customer may share their good experience with three friends, whereas an angry customer has the potential to tell 3,000 friends in social networks and communities.  And for each customer that complains, there are anywhere from tens to thousands of people that don’t complain – And they simply stop doing business with you.

Research has shown that customers with issues that are resolved quickly can often turn into loyal customers and even brand advocates. Simply put, a customer complaint can become very profitable when you can resolve their problem.

A customer complaint highlights problems with employees or internal processes and you can fix them before further problems arise and cause a bad customer experience. One of the advantages of CRM is that you can keep a record of customer feedback, both positive and negative.

  • You can use positive feedback to provide social proofing and attract new customers
  • You can use negative feedback to fix any internal processes and make your customers happy

Complaint Analysis

Your company will hear about a complaint either from the customer directly, in written or verbal communication or by leaving your brand to shop with a competitor due a negative experience.

A 2010 Customer Experience Report by RightNow found that the number one reason customers leave a brand to use a competitor was not due to pricing or faster service, but due to poor quality and rude customer service.

In order to analyze the complaint thoroughly, you need to review a number of factors, such as who the complaint came from and how often this customer complains. You can then analyze how often this complaint occurs and then take the necessary actions to ensure it does not happen again.

When it comes to dealing with complaints, you need to consider your organizations service, quality, communication and response time. Look at the cost, billing issues and if problems are regularly followed up. Launching customer service software can help you avoid any future complaints.

In order to manage complaints effectively, you can take a complaint analysis approach. This means asking your self the following questions:

  • Has this happened before?
  • Have the complaints been recorded into your customer service system?
  • How often does the same compliant arise?
  • Is there a pattern to this complaint in how it was received?
  • Has the same customer reported this previously?

How to handle customer complaints

The next time you receive a customer complaint, follow these tips to help transform it into a golden opportunity for your business.

1. Listen and understand

Always listen to the customer. They have complained for a reason and it is important to understand why they are complaining. Research has shown that customers care more about quality than a fast response – Take the time to listen and understand what their problem is. And to maintain quality from all support personnel, use a customer service knowledge base

2. Apologize

Don’t be afraid to apologize for the mistake. Many customers are simply looking for an apology and acknowledgement of their complaint, yet so many businesses are hesitant to admit when they have made a mistake. But don’t just stop at the apology; follow through with a promise to resolve the complaint.

3. Find a solution

When your customer has a legitimate complaint, your customer service teams need to find a solution and fix it. Give your team the authority to handle the majority of customer complaints to avoid passing your customer onto a series of people and managers. If the issue has been or can be repeated, make the necessary changes so you do not receive another complaint.

4. Follow up with the customer

Make sure that you follow up with your customer to make sure they are satisfied with the solution. This can be in the form of a follow up email or survey asking for feedback on how the complaint was handled. 68% of customers leave a company because they believe you don’t care about them.

Why do customers leave a company?

5. Exceed Expectations

You have acknowledged the mistake, fixed the problem and followed up. Now it’s your chance to go one step further and exceed expectations, whether this is to provide a discount on their next purchase or offer a free consultation. In doing so, the next time your customer talks about your business, this will be the message they communicate most.

In addition, you can also create a customer complaint analysis checklist that helps you record complaints and ensure that they are resolved. The checklist would be:

  • Is the complaint/ feedback department visible to your customers?
  • Is a record of complaints kept that can be escalated to top management?
  • Do you categorize complaints in order to monitor developing trends?
  • Have you acknowledged the complaint?
  • Have you informed the customer that you are taking action?
  • Have you resolved the complaint according to company policy?
  • Have you follow up with the customer to make sure they are satisfied with the resolution?
  • Do you file the report and analyze complaints on a monthly basis to make sure all complaints are resolved?

Searching for complaints on the web

Customer loyalty can be elusive, but it is important in order to run a successful business. In today’s digital world, there are thousands of forums, price comparison websites and social networks for customers to vent their frustrations and complain.

Not all complaints will be official and follow the complaint procedures; so you can easily start by reviewing your online social profiles.

  • Have any negative comments been made on your blog?
  • Has your brand name been mentioned on Twitter?
  • Do customers post messages on your Facebook brand page?
  • Has anyone left a bad review on your Google+ Local page?
  • Are the comments made on your YouTube channels positive?
  • Is your brand listed in any complaint directories/ forums when you search in Google?

All these channels will need to be monitored. If you don’t respond, readers will assume you don’t care.  If you respond to messages online, it can be seen as though you are making an effort and that you care. This act alone can inspire brand loyalty and customer confidence. If a customer called in to complain, would you ignore their call?

Conclusion

A quick response is important, but your customers are much more likely to remember you if you deliver an excellent service to solve their problem than compared to a fast response just to close a customer service ticket.

If your business goal is to keep as many customers as you can (which it should be!), stay calm, find a solution and make sure the problem does not come up again will help turn even the toughest complaint into a pot of gold.

How do you manage customer complaints right now? When was the last time you made an official complaint? Looking forward to hearing from you below.

P.S.If you’re looking for further tips on how to improve complaints, download the free customer service email templates white paper below.

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Customer Service

About Steven MacDonald

Steven MacDonald

Steven Macdonald is an online marketer based in Tallinn, Estonia, Steven has more than ten years experience in the online marketing field and is driven by creating success stories. You can connect with Steven on LinkedIn and Twitter.

25 Comments

Pam Mannell

about 4 years ago

Very much along the same lines as our recent blog - customer service is so important, but you need to know what your customers are saying about you http://www.crmessentialsltd.co.uk/what-do-your-customers-say-about-you

Reply

Steven MacDonald

about 4 years ago

Thanks for commenting Pam - You're absolutely right! It's incredibly important, and there are a lot more channels to follow up with your customers in nowadays, but for each complaint made that goes unanswered a business can be losing hundreds if not thousands of pounds.

Reply

Ravi Sharma

about 3 years ago

Customer complaint good for business because when customer doesn't complaint any problem then how i can understand where our business stand.

Reply

Steven MacDonald

about 3 years ago

Excellent point. Thanks for commenting Ravi.

Reply

Ian Zafra

about 3 years ago

Excellent post! How do you put customer complaints to good use? By using it as motivation to become better. How Delayed Response Time is Causing you to Lose Clients - http://www.spi-global.com/blog/think-tank/delayed-response-time-causing-lose-clients/

Reply

Steven MacDonald

about 3 years ago

Well said, Ian! And thanks for the link to your post. Great read!

Reply

Daniel

about 2 years ago

Steven, Do you think how prompt customer's complaint are addressed and solved can also be an issue ? Some companies takes too much time solving customer's problem. This can also result in bad word of mouth against that company.

Reply

Steven MacDonald

about 2 years ago

Thanks for the comment, Daniel. I agree, some companies do take too long to respond. And yes, I do believe that speed will help solve a customer complaint faster. Research shows that customers value quality over speed, however, there's nothing worse than a customer complaining and not being acknowledged. I recommend acknowledging the complaint first, and then working on solving it. You can never over communicate to an unhappy customer.

Reply

Magnolia

about 2 years ago

There's definately a great deal to learn about this issue. I like all the points you made.

Reply

Fausto Vagliardo

about 2 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Reply

Sarah Garcia

about 1 year ago

I agree upon the fact that the Customer Complaints Are Good For Your Business but only if you can resolve the soon after they raised it, otherwise it will drag your business to a very bad condition. The customer complaints gives you an idea about your business that what need to be done to make it more better.

Reply

Steven MacDonald

about 1 year ago

I completely agree, Sarah! Customer complaints do provide an idea about a business. Thanks for leaving a comment.

Reply

Hayden Cote

about 1 year ago

Our business has been mentioned on a blog in a negative way and I am not sure how I can get the anonymous blogger to remove the post.. I've emailed her but have had no response. What are my options and what should my next step be?.

Reply

Steven MacDonald

about 1 year ago

Thanks for commenting, Hayden. I recommend connecting with the blogger on social media and trying to contact them that way.

Reply

Raymond Reddington

about 1 year ago

Absolutely right, customers deserve the beat that can ever come out of any company and for real, if a customer must present a complaint, then it's as a result of some dissatisfaction somewhere. Customers complaint handling personnel need to be quick addressing complaint if they are to re-commence business with complainers as soon as possible before the business can lose an extra dollar.

Reply

Steven MacDonald

about 1 year ago

Great comment, Raymond. Completely agree. Customer complaint handling needs to be quick at addressing the complaint.

Reply

daniel

about 9 months ago

This is a really article on customer complaints!

Reply

Steven MacDonald

about 9 months ago

Glad you think so, Daniel. I appreciate it!

Reply

Mila Rosmoses

about 8 months ago

Great article! Good info on how to handle customer complaints. Thank you!

Reply

Mark Palmerto

about 7 months ago

How can you minimize customer complaints for an online business? The reason I ask is that in offline businesses, a store manager can briefly explain the issue directly to customers.

Reply

Steven MacDonald

about 7 months ago

That's a good point, Mark. I think by using the tips in this blog, plus the additional tips you can download at the end of the post will help you handle customer complaints online.

Reply

Simon Kayne

about 6 months ago

Yes! Those thoughts are indeed right. Customer complaints can be useful for your business. They will be your guide to improve your services or products. Always listen to your customers because they will be the one who can bring your business to success.

Reply

Aditi Bansal

about 3 months ago

A satisfied customer may share their good experience with three friends, And for each customer that complains, there are anywhere from tens to thousands of people that don’t complain – And they simply stop doing business with you.You can use positive feedback to provide social proofing and attract new customers. You can use negative feedback to fix any internal processes and make your customers happy.Your company will hear about a complaint either from the customer directly, in written or verbal communication or by leaving your brand to shop with a competitor due a negative experience.

Reply

Charlotte M

about 2 weeks ago

Complaints certainly helped our business out. We were able to see what are down falls were and look at ways to overcome them. We decided to invest in customer service software, which has really excelled our customer experience!

Reply

Damon Burton

about 1 day ago

It is important to stay calm, find a solution and make sure the problem does not come up again if you want to keep your customers. Doing so will help turn even the toughest complaint into a pot of gold.

Reply

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