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Do Customer Complaints Really Matter?

Written by | Published on 11th March 2013 | 5 min read

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FILED UNDER: eCommerce Marketing Uncategorised

No business can satisfy 100% of customers every day of the week, every week of the year.

For one, different customers have varying expectations. On top of that, there are days when things go unavoidably wrong. A bug on your ordering system, parcels lost in transit, a customer services rep having a bad day, or a supplier who lets you down can all result in a less-than optional experience for your customers, leaving them (and you) fuming and end-of-tether.

We all know the classic advice: Finding out when you’ve let down a customer is the first step to putting things right.

But shouldn’t customers be more understanding, and realize no business is perfect?

Why is listening to their complaints so important?

Angry Customers are Loyal Customers

Satisfied customers vote with their feet and purchase your products and services time and again. Customers who’ve had a poor experience of your brand also vote with their feet by going elsewhere next time they need a product in your niche.

Most of the time, your dissatisfied customers won’t bother telling you what went wrong. Why should they? Submitting a complaint takes time and energy, and people are too busy for that.

Research shows only 4% of customers who’ve had a bad experience bother to complain. The other 96% go elsewhere, and 91% never come back.

That’s the first reason angry customers are loyal customers. They believe in your brand. They believe you can be better. Their belief is your brand is so strong they take the time to get in touch to tell you how you went wrong.

Listen to their complaints, rectify what went wrong, and offer an apology. Depending on the circumstances, consider giving a gift voucher as a way of saying sorry.

When you do that, you’ll transform your angry customers from seething to smiling. Having frustrations turned around like this is the perfect way to build loyalty. When angry customers discover that you listen and that you care, you’ll make their day.

That’s the second reason angry customers are loyal customers. Turn a rotten experience of your business into a happy one, and you create evangelists for your brand.

Loyal Customers Are Your Brand’s Goldmine

We all know the old adage: A bird in hand is worth two in the bush. It sounds wise, but it’s not exactly true, at least not when it comes to business.

For brands, the truth is: A bird in hand is worth ten in the bush.

Customer churn costs you serious money.

Studies have found it costs up to ten times more to attract a new customers compared to keeping an existing customer. What’s more, increasing your customer retention by just 5% results in a 25-95% increase in profit.

Listen to Your Customers

The lesson? Things go wrong in business, but that’s no excuse for giving your customers a below-par experience of your brand.

When customers let you know something’s gone wrong, be sure to listen, apologize, and put things right. If their complaint is a one-off, that’s usually enough. But if the same complaint keeps coming up time and again, then chances are it’s a result of bad systems, or poor staff training. Look into what’s going wrong, because for every customer that complains, 24 others are walking away without saying anything.

Your angry customers could be your greatest fans – so listen to them. Customer complaints matter.

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Written by David

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