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Brian Tracy! The art of conquering customers

Some great comments to this book

“Barlow and Moller outline why a complaining customer can become a company’s most valuable asset

and show you how to win back customers, drive more deals,

and accumulate testimonials. really favorable.

If business success is important to you,

you need to read this book!”- Ron Kaufman, Author and Founder of UP Your Service!

“For companies that are spending more and more money researching customer expectations, this book is a breath of fresh air.

The book could also be titled:

Turning Common Emotions into Profits.”- Paul Clark, General Manager, Country Energy, Australia

“The Art of Winning Customers provides an excellent vehicle for explaining how a company can deliver impeccable service

and handle complaints through improved customer relationships,

which ultimately helping to increase sales as well as improve customer satisfaction.”- Thom Ray, General Manager of British Telecom

“Things seem too complicated these days.

But Barlow and Moller took a thorny issue and made it understandable, not only in the business world,

but also in our everyday lives.

I will never feel destructive complaining again.”- Dr. Russ Volckmann, Editor and Editor, Integral Leadership Review

“In the convenience store business, after speed of delivery,

service is the most important.

This book delves into the conditions necessary for consistent service recovery.”- Lee Barnes, President of Family Fare Convenience Stores

“This book delivers an inspirational attitude shift for service industry employees,

a groundbreaking formula for service resumption in the face of tough complaints,

and a reform of the management system.”- Rick Brandon,

co-author of The Existence of Knowledge

“This book treats service restoration like an art.

The real test of a great brand is its ability to take advantage of opportunities to form new customer relationships.

Through a careful blend of analysis, business creativity,

and real-world examples,

these pages will convince you that complaints really are gifts.”- Mike English, Vice President of Customer Contact Center,

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.

“The concept in this book is an attitude we adopted to complement our brand promise at the Royal Plaza in Scotts, Singapore.

We have planted the seeds of its importance in all of our employees so that they are truly grateful for customer feedback,

whether favorable or unfavorable.”- Patrick Garcia Fiat, General Manager, Royal Plaza, Scotts, Singapore

“This book is very profound.

It goes back to the fundamentals that are driving our industry.

The authors take you through the process from mentioning a bad customer experience to turning that guest into a loyal customer.

The title of this book could not have been more correct.”- Rich Hicks, Director of Tin Star Restaurant

“We own one of the most majestic places in the world:

the Sky Walk in Grand Canyon West.

And we still get complaints.

This book can help any organization achieve its customer experience goals.

This concept works very well in many different cultures.

Today, it becomes very important to create a truly international character in the service that delivers the customer experience.”- Waylon Honga, CEO, Grand Canyon West

“This book is for any manager who understands that truly satisfied customers present the best opportunities to acquire more customers.

The art of winning customers is a powerful tool that should be shared with all employees across the company.”- Andy Jorishie, Vice President of The Zimmerman Agency

“This book is a work of art. I would recommend to anyone looking for perfection

and learning about customer service in general

and complaint handling in particular.”- Omran Al Shansi, Complaints Handling Manager, Emirates Telecommunications Corp.

“This is a magical book with practical tools

and techniques to ensure a delightful customer experience

and handle even the most challenging complaints from them.

It includes a lot of suggestions for providing impeccable customer service even in the most difficult situations.

These tools are really effective, practical.”- Michael Krumpak,

former Director of the Training and Development Subcommittee, U.S. House of Representatives

“The concept of ‘A Complaint is a Gift’ points to a long-term difference.

We believe that, as a network of banks,

we can correct a large number of our flaws from customer feedback.

We will certainly become more unique in the way we serve our customers.

Complaint management is a key element of our business strategy.” – Andrey Litvinov, Vice President, Life Financial Group, Russia

“It is interesting that the topic of ‘complaint’ is finally brought up and discussed in depth.

Our business, which is based on building relationships,

has greatly benefited from the insights provided in this book.”- Cliff Miller, Owner M. J. Christensen Diamonds

“The ‘Complaint is a Gift’ philosophy empowers our customer service reps to improve and strengthen customer relationships.

This unique communication approach to defect services has been very beneficial to our organization,

helping to build stronger and more productive teams.”- Peta Peter,

Director of Education and Training,

Amway Australia and New Zealand.

“This book is an invaluable component of our toolkit for creating a distinct customer service culture.

It focuses on taking in customer complaints to refine service and bring customers back,

rather than seeing complaints as bad things to avoid.”- Muriel Roake,

Brand and Organizational Development Manager, Air New Zealand

“I have always been a supporter of the Janelle

and Claus philosophy that complains is a gift in the field over the years.

Communication channels and the smoothness of how complaints are handled,

through blogs and online chat rooms,

have facilitated even the more essential needs of efficient

and fast complaint handling. quickly.”- Nigel Roberts, Executive Vice President,

The Langham Hotels & Resorts

“Customer service is a paradox:

the more interactions a business has with its customers,

the more ‘negative’ feedback they get,

but at the same time more opportunities to create ‘positive’ things. pole’.

Many of the elements in the book have been used by Boyd Gaming

and proved to be useful as we continue to build on our ability to deliver

and monitor customer service and proactive feedback programs.”- Brian Shultz,

Vice President of Marketing, Midwest and South Region, Boyd Gaming Corp.

“This is a book in the field of psychology,

the psychology of customers who still care to complain,

the psychology of organizations confident enough to take complaints and deal with them,

and the psychology of of people in the organization

as well as varying degrees of confidence in handling complaints.”- Sanjay Tiwari,

Sales and Customer Service Manager, KLM Cargo USA

“If you want to know what really works in complaint management, check out this book.

It includes practical examples and the latest thinking on the subject.

It is rare to find such a book for those involved in the activity handle customer complaints

and pull out valuable academic research.”- Jochen Wirtz, Professor,

National University of Singapore, co-author of Service Marketing:

People, Technology, Strategy

“This fresh approach to service restoration and customer loyalty has become part of the buzzwords in the Butterfield Bank office.

Janelle and Claus provide the food for ideas, teachable and entertaining examples,

and easy-to-use guides to put their philosophy into practice.”- Lori Baker-Lloyd,

Vice President of Human Resources and Organizational Development, N. T. Butterfield & Son Bank, Bermuda

I dedicate this book to Confucius, who wisely pointed out:

“He who commits a mistake and does not know how to correct it, commits it again.”

Confucius did not know about the complaints of customers today,

but he easily explained why it is the complaining customers who give us gifts.


Hello readers

The title A Complaint Is a Gift can be misleading at first

because it is ostensibly just a book on the subject of how to handle complaints.

And while every page of the book deals with complaints,

this book is really about a much broader and more important topic:

how to provide excellent service.

Everyone knows that providing excellent service is vital,

but only a handful of companies do this well.

Why? The concept of excellent service is very simple,

but in practice it is very difficult.

This book can be used as a guide to taking the first step in building an organization that is dedicated to providing customers with excellent service.

Think of the last time you complained to a company about a bad experience.

Now think about the effect your loyalty has on that company after the way they handled (or didn’t) your complaint.

Every day, millions of complaints are sent to companies around the world;

While most companies try to avoid complaints,

this book will show you that each complaint is actually a great opportunity to increase the value of your company.

At Zappos.com, our goal is to provide excellent customer service.

We believe that the best way to achieve this goal is to make a customer-centric company culture the number one priority in everything.

We believe that when we successfully build that culture,

most of the other things needed to provide excellent service will automatically emerge in the process.

If you can turn your company into a “complaint-friendly” organization by following the steps outlined in this book,

then you will be one of the most profitable companies in the world ability

to provide excellent service.

This is not an easy path, nor does it happen overnight,

it happens step by step.

Reading this book is one of the best first steps you can take.

Tony Hsieh CEO, zappos.com


Chapter 1: Introduction

Part 1: When Customers Voice

It’s been more than 10 years since the first edition of The Art of Winning Customers was published.

We are embarrassed to admit that we naively believed that poorly handled complaints were a thing of the past,

thanks to the wide circulation of the first edition.

We’ve heard some surprising examples, like a medical products company in Kiev,

Ukraine that completely reorganized its approach to complaints handling based solely on the content of the complaint.

Russian version of this book.

With similar examples from around the world,

we thought we’d stop talking about complaining soon,

even though it’s a fun topic to talk about.

Indeed, stories of poorly handled complaints have garnered a lot of attention,

amazement, and interesting expressions from our audience.

We thought everyone understood that every complaint is a gift.

But that didn’t happen.

In 2006, in a survey of 3,200 European and American consumers,

86% responded that “their trust in companies has declined over the past five years.”

In 2007, RightNow Technologies reported that after experiencing a poor service:

80% of American adults have decided never to return to that company to make a purchase.

74% raised a complaint and told it to others.

47% of customers yell or swear.

29% said they had a headache, felt tightness in their chest, or cried.

13% seek to fight the company when posting negative comments or comments on websites/blogs.

Finally, a Gallup Institute poll conducted by the Office of Consumer Complaints conducted from August 22 to September 8,

2007 found that approximately 18% of American adults say that Their confidence in businesses had dropped in the previous year.

However, 93% of those surveyed said that a company’s reputation for honesty and fairness is very important to them.

The report concludes that if a company doesn’t live up to its promises (the source of all complaints), customers will go elsewhere.

It’s not a bright picture.

While the ideas from this book have influenced many people,

companies continue to make mistakes,

and customers continue to complain.

Service providers often blame customers for the errors they complain about,

or require customers to prove the facts.

In many cases, it took them so long to respond that the complainant himself

no longer remembers what he or she complained to the company about.

Then customers are often forced to talk to electronic sound systems.

However, conversations like these are better than face-to-face contact in many cases.

We will not resort to customer wait time statistics

when they want to connect a phone to a department to handle a complaint.

Then when they are directly dealing with a someone only knows that he

or she is living in a country in reverse time zone

and is investigating the problem through the description.

Many customers are so frustrated with this way of communication

that by the time they get to the person in charge they’re often angry

and are therefore immediately branded as a bully,

annoying customers,

even though they just need an answer to a simple question.

You can make ten perfect deals with customers,

but it only takes one transaction with a slight flaw

to attract the attention of so many people.

This fact shows that we must focus on what we can learn from unhappy customers.

Many service providers see complaints as something to avoid,

this is evident in the fact that many companies continue

to reward management teams for their ability to reduce the number of complaints.

Surveys conducted around the world repeatedly prove

that the companies with the highest customer service in the industry are the most profitable.

In fact, many large companies have developed sophisticated technological approaches to respond to complaints more effectively.

And many companies have trained their employees in the best ways

to respond to the most demanding customers.

Every year, many new service providers enter the world market,

and at the same time many new complaints are raised by consumers.

Excited and frustrated managers continue

to deceive themselves into thinking that the best way

to be perfect is to eliminate all the problems that can generate customer complaints.

Now, 12 years after the first publication of The Art of Winning Customers,

more and more complaints are being expressed publicly on the Internet in a harsher,

more pressing tone.

When dealing with difficult customer complaints,

unfortunately, many employees treat their customers’ uncontrolled behaviors as if they were personally directed at them,

and as a result they have inappropriate personal defense responses

to them with its customers.

Is it surprising that most call centers are struggling to keep staff,

unless they offer some of the highest salaries in the area?

Such frequent and rapid loss of people requires the company

to constantly recruit new employees without adequate training in skills.

As a result, many customer service centers do not have staff members who know how to handle complaints effectively.

Academic research on complaint handling has also failed to reveal shocking information since we surveyed the research for the first edition.

However, more and more fine-tuning from what happens in complaint handling has also emerged steadily over the past 10 years.

For example, many studies have been conducted on differences in complaint patterns between different national groups.

Deeper knowledge of consumer behavior has opened up additional areas for research.

Here is our conclusion after reading hundreds of research reports:

The more we know about service recovery,

the deeper our understanding becomes.

The more knowledgeable we are,

the more we need to know how to achieve the desired results by restoring customer service.

The more we know,

the more often we have to practice to know what works in particular situations.

While the specific facts may have changed,

the results of studies conducted from the 1960s to the 1990s continued to hold true well into the 2000s.

Indeed, it’s scary to think that a complete understanding

A whole new approach to complaints has popped up out of the blue,

which calls for a whole new approach to complaint handling.

In short, the concept of Every Complaint as a Gift remains as true today as it was 10 years ago.

Complaints will never go away,

and organizations and their employees need to adopt a new strategy that allows them

to restore customer trust and loyalty after an incident.


Part 2: Change mindset

What has changed is that more and more organizations are moving in this direction

and have gained a deeper understanding of the importance of effective complaint handling.

These organizations understand very well the cost of losing both customers

and employees when their dissatisfaction and anger are not handled skillfully.

Many organizations recognize that effective service restoration is a crucial part of creating strong brands.

In 2004, the book Branded Customer Service by Janelle Barlow

and Paul Stewart examined the importance of brands handling complaints effectively and concluded:

customers are willing to forgive Forgiving brands that don’t live up to their promises at first,

as long as brand reps respond to customers effectively,

deliver on their original promise,

and show the problem is improving. benevolent.

Some customers will accept major flaws if the service provider is honest,

considerate and willing to help them.

If your employees maintain an attitude that feedback is one of the best ways to communicate with customers,

they’re on the right track to building emotional value with customers.

This issue is covered in more detail in the book Emotional Value,

which Janelle co-authored.

Saying thank you when receiving a negative feedback has a powerful effect sometimes beyond your imagination.

More importantly, the strategy that follows the thank you is even more meaningful.

Our attitude when receiving and handling customer complaints,

especially when we consider “every complaint is a gift”,

is a very powerful weapon to restore service and regain trust of customer.

Before we show you how to organize this new edition,

let’s start the story off with a surprising example of complaint handling at Family Fare,

a chain of convenience stores. franchise business in North Carolina.

Family Fare defines its goal as being the best customer service provider in convenience stores in America.

They invest a fair amount of money to train store owners

and store managers about the brand of service they want to provide and how to handle complaints,

company has only such a simple promise and has always focused all its resources on fulfilling that promise perfectly.

Family Fare knows that they can’t compete with US hypermarkets that specialize in weekend shopping,

but they’re also not a place that provides essential goods and oppresses customers with high price.

However, Family Fare stores are always clean and bright,

and prices are often listed like supermarkets.

Most Family Fare customers are familiar with the store managers (who are the likeliest and genuine people you’ll ever meet) and like them.

They really are a close-knit community.

General Manager Lee Barnes “lives and breathes” with customer service.

Complaints addressed to Family Fare will come directly to him and he will personally respond to the customer.

The complaints received, he said, were “warning words from the heart.”

Once, while in a car,

Barnes received a complaint (from his Black Berry)

from a customer saying that she was denied entry into the lottery for an Xbox console because her home address not near Family Fare store.

She writes that she has a rental property near one of the stores and that her military husband buys gas there.

She was furious and vowed never to shop at Family Fare again,

and many families she knew would follow suit.

“It is a pity that you ignore customers who work near your location even if they do not live nearby.

There are simply too many other places for us to buy gas and soda.

Bye. Next time, maybe you should hire someone with promotion experience to run future campaigns.”

Oh, how stinging her words were!

Barnes immediately sent a response from his BlackBerry,

thanking her for contacting him and assuring him that he would consider her entry into the sweepstakes.

It turned out that the commands at the bottom of the website automatically removed people in her situation from the competition.

She was not the only one experiencing this incident,

but the only one to voice complaints.

After returning to the office,

Barnes sent the client a longer message,

thanking her for letting him know about the situation,

and that he had personally signed her up for the contest.

Her response to the second letter was much softer in tone.

In the third exchange,

the complaining customer wrote about her life and her children.

“Yes, because you have been so kind to me,

I will not boycott your store anymore.”

In a two-page email,

the woman confided that her husband’s commander was killed the morning she filed her first complaint.

She has one adopted child and recently adopted two more,

one born to an addicted mother.

Their eldest son’s birthday is coming up and he wants an Xbox,

but they can’t afford it because they live off military pay.

“So when I saw your contest,

I thought I might be lucky enough to win an Xbox for Jess,

but my God, I couldn’t enter,” she said.

By this time, Barnes and his guest had already addressed each other intimately by their first names.

He was touched and decided to give Jessie an Xbox,

whether her mother won or not.

The web designer for the company also gave the boy a game disc that came with his Xbox because of his negligence

The client’s follow-up letter thoroughly explained that she was not asking for sympathy or charity.

In fact, she was confused by what she had originally written.

“I don’t expect you to send us a gaming system,” she said.

I only feel comfortable when the company really cares,

listens and responds to a customer’s complaint.”

Barnes replied that he had not heard a single request for sympathy and that it was a gift for Jessie

and her brother to express gratitude for her taking the time to explain the matter to the site so they can fix it.

Two weeks later, Jessie received the Xbox.

The letters of thanks from the mother and her children are touching and it is hard to hold back the tears.

Most complaints don’t create such opportunities for you to show how good you are.

However, when they happen like this,

you should receive them and handle them with the utmost respect because everyone involved benefits.

Don’t be afraid that people will compete with each other

to write desperate letters of complaint to get a free Xbox because you will surely find out what is true.

Metaphor – Complaints are gifts

Without customers, the company does not exist.

Today, phrases like total customer service, customer centricity,

customer driven marketplace,

customer satisfaction metrics, customer centric culture,

customer centric sales customer service, customer care,

core and peripheral customer service, customer sensitivities,

internal and external customers, customer focus,

and “hard” or “hard” customer relationships software” often appears in the words of business people – especially consultants.

Service recovery courses (on how to turn unhappy customers into loyal customers) are often the most popular seminars around the world in recent times.

In the first edition,

we conducted a computer search of Dialog for articles from 1981 that included customer complaints in academic journals

and discovered a dramatic increase in customer complaints. the sheer number of such articles.

Since then, academic interest in the subject of complaints

and service restoration has steadily increased, as shown in the chart below.

And to take advantage of the Internet,

we decided to look at how many customer complaint items are listed by Google every year during the same time period.

The results are presented below:

Many people remember that after 9/11/2001,

complaining seemed to be considered impolite.

But since 2007, the number of complaints has increased dramatically,

perhaps in part due to the explosion of blogs.

The concept of a customer has expanded over the past 25 years.

Customer does not just mean the payers,

but anyone who benefits from a product or service,

including hospital patients,

school students, and vehicle users. public transport…

It also means internal customers of the organization,

such as colleagues and superiors.

Although some people don’t like to call friends and family members customers,

many ideas applies to personal relationships with clients.

We will discuss some of these ideas in the next chapters.

Peter Drucker once said that our customers are the reason we stay in business.

But we often forget this.

Many companies have an artistic way of conveying the “we live for the customer” message,

but believe that all they need to do is issue orders on the subject.

In our service consulting roles,

we’ve come across a lot of managers who don’t understand that it’s not enough to ask employees to behave a certain way.

In the US in 1920, the service sector accounted for 53% of non-farm workers,

by 1960 this share had jumped to 62%;

In 2000, this number increased to 81%.

This pattern is consistent across all developed economies in the world.

In fact, most businesses see complaints as evidence of failure on their part that they don’t want to admit,

or as reinforcement of their suspicions that customers are looking for something. that costs nothing.

However, while some companies tend to refuse to accept customer complaints,

many others are eager to get rid of them.

Complaints are one of the most direct

and effective ways for customers to tell a business that they can always improve their service.

And if this improvement does not take place,

the customer will deal with another company

and the customer’s unhappy attitude will create great damage

to the company and negatively impact the brand image.

The metaphor we use in this book is the metaphor Complaining as a Gift.

Complaints are a feedback mechanism that can help organizations quickly

and inexpensively transform a product, service style,

or market focus to meet the needs of their customers,

the ultimate people to pay for goods or services.

It is time for all organizations to think of complaint handling as a strategic tool,

an opportunity to learn something about a product

or service that they may not have known,

and see it as an effective marketing asset,

rather than as a nuisance, an expense,

or an unpleasant pain.

Customer complaints provide one of the most basic and direct ways to communicate with customers.

After all, how many consumers bother to pick up the phone just to talk to a company if they don’t have a problem?

In fact, we often have to pay customers extra money to fill out our surveys!

So, we better be prepared to listen to them.

This book is useful to those who come in contact with customers on a daily basis,

who want to benefit from customer feedback,

and who have the responsibility of retaining unhappy customers and turning them into new customers. loyal customers.

To do this, you need to have a radical change in attitude towards this issue.

If your company improves its complaint handling practices

and begins to view complaints as gifts,

you’ve opened up clearer channels of communication for customers.

Our goal is to help you realize how changing the way you view customer complaints can be the first step to improving

and truly expanding your business.


Chapter 3: How is this book presented?

The book is divided into three parts:

The first part, “Complaints – A Lifesaver for Customers”,

looks at strategies that can help us maintain a positive attitude towards complaining customers.

This section establishes the value of listening to the customer.

The role of complaint handling as a strategic tool for generating additional business will be introduced here.

We’ll also look at why most unhappy customers rarely complain.

And find out what’s on their mind when customers complain based on what they say, do,

and expect when they’re unhappy.

The second part, “Applying the Complaint Is a Gift Strategy,”

focuses on how to handle complaints.

We’ll look at an eight-step gift recipe for keeping language, interactions,

and actions consistent with the belief that a complaint is a gift.

When this book was first published,

the Web was a forum that had only just begun to emerge for frustrated customers.

Remember that it wasn’t until 1995 that most people started using the Internet.

In the past 10 years, what used to be whispers has now become a worldwide reverberation.

Fortunately, we are not without a way to fend off complaints online.

Therefore, we will look at how organizations can use the Web in a way that benefits them.

The first edition of this book has a section titled

“How to Make Your Organization Complaint Ready”.

As this book has been expanded,

we decided to include discussion of this topic on the TMI US Web site (www.tmius.com).

Here you will find downloadable articles and comments.

We regularly update (1) how to balance service restoration with your brand’s position,

(2) how to evaluate your policies and systems to be open to complaints,

and ( 3) how to develop and maintain a culture that is open to complaints.

On our Web site,

you’ll also find implementations to make your organization more customer-centric

by focusing on complaint handling.

Due to the considerable amount of feedback we received from readers of the first edition,

we decided to add a third section:

“Give and Take – The Personal Side of Complaints.”

Many people have told us that applying the gift formula to their marriage has really saved them.

One of the best ways to discover what customers want is to listen to their complaints.

And one of the best ways to improve a personal relationship is to notice

when they are frustrated and respond in a way that can resolve the conflict.

Quick exchanges, with open channels for feedback from friends,

colleagues, and family members,

geared toward addressing other people’s discomforts can keep relationships harmonious

and productive make them stronger.

Or maybe they’ll attack us on MySpac-. Gordon Bethune,

CEO of Continental Airlines until 2004, said:

“You can’t treat your girlfriend as a gift from the sky,

and you can’t do the same to your customers.

If you do, there’s a very good chance that someone else will receive your ‘gift from the sky’.

At the end of each chapter are a number of questions that discuss complaints

and what your organization can do to improve its service.

These questions can be used in staff meetings to stimulate discussion and understanding of customer complaints,

or as part of training efforts to improve complaint handling.

Real cases of organizations that are successful in managing and handling customer complaints will also be presented in the book.

We listened to our readers and expanded the examples to other areas rather than focusing on the aviation industry,

which is often the most criticized.

Wally Bock, a popular blogger, says:

“The ideas that almost certainly work are best practices from other companies in the industry.

But breakthrough ideas often come from other industries,

from an industry that can solve problems that are common, but new to you.”

We accept.

All of our examples are very real.

If we are wrong about a certain detail, we sincerely apologize in advance.

In most cases, when the experience is negative,

we don’t include the company’s name unless they no longer exist

or the complaint is part of publicly available information.

This is a careful decision.

Every company can make mistakes at some point.

We also don’t want you to think that a company is bad just

because someone is complaining about them.

Finally, this book contains a lot of research data that has been compiled.

You’ll quickly notice that there’s a lot of bias in the complaint literature,

but all the research points in one direction:

unhappy customers don’t usually complain, and when they do,

they don’t feedback to them is often poorly handled and not managed appropriately.

If we can treat complaints as gifts, we must make major changes in both thinking and acting.

The good news is that there are plenty of opportunities for all organizations

to make major improvements in the way they handle complaints.


Part 1: Customers complaints

A. Lifeline for customers

When customers are not satisfied with a product or service,

they usually show it in two ways:

either expressing their opinion, or quietly walking away.

If they walk away,

it means they didn’t give us a chance to explain

or fix the problem that made them unhappy.

When customers complain they still want to talk to us and give us a chance to keep them.

In today’s world where almost everything is connected to the Internet,

word-of-mouth rumors no longer linger at a simple dinner table,

they have become the hot topic of discussion at parties to thousands of customers.

So, even though we don’t like receiving negative feedback,

it’s the customers who complain directly to us who are giving us a gift.

Indeed, if we realize that every complaint is a gift,

we will learn much from difficult situations.

At that time, for us, customer complaints are always one of the most available sources of market and consumer information,

but are underutilized; then,

they will be one of the bases for us to conduct programs to improve the quality of our products and services.

Indeed, those are not small gifts!

To better understand complaining customers,

Part I of this book delves into their psychoanalysis.

When we understand them, we easily accept them.

We need to actively accept complaints and even customers who have to say sometimes very difficult;

We must allow them to respond directly and directly instead of talking behind our backs.


B. Strategy for viewing “every complaint is a gift”

It’s not easy hearing customers complain all day long.

The “mood” confession on the Internet of a customer service employee below

is not very different from many emotions we have heard directly:

Customers are constantly complaining.

They complain 90% of the time just because they had a bad day and need to take it all out on someone.

I work for a cell phone network company

and I get so many complaints that I want to get sick…

My job is to help customers when they need it but every tolerance has a limit term.

I’m tired of complaints.

No matter how hard we tried, they still weren’t satisfied.

Once a customer has a nasty attitude from the first minute,

it’s very difficult to stay calm when they keep scolding you lashing out at you and accusing you of being rude to them.

C. Customer service officer

Would you like to see a slightly different scenario?

Imagine a friend with a lovely gift in hand coming to your birthday party.

The first thing you say after greeting the person is probably gratitude:

“Thank you. Thank you for coming and thank you for the cute gift.”

Both your language and your gestures convey the joy of seeing an old friend and receiving a gift.

What happens if you open your present and see a CD that was purchased specifically for you?

What will you say?

“Oh, I really like it.

I’ve wanted this CD for a long time.

He’s really attentive.

How do you know I like this singer?

Every time I listen to this CD,

I will think of you.”

Yes, that might be a bit wordy,

but that’s generally how people express emotions.

Now, imagine a customer calls you to complain.

“My name is Chris Cooper.

His cell phone network never provided a decent service.

I kept crashing, while your ads kept saying that wherever we were in the country,

we could still hear it.

And yet, the first month’s bill charged for calls I never made!

But I’m not surprised,

because your company’s signal is so bad,

of course you can’t calculate the exact rate!”

In that situation, few people can say,

“Thank you for calling and letting us know about this.

He was really attentive. We are very grateful for your comments.”

Yet when we receive birthday gifts,

we do not hesitate to say thank you immediately.

Why? That’s because we are cared for by a friend who takes the time to learn and brings us joy, a special gift.

What about those complaining customers?

Are they your friends,

or are they your enemies?

What are they trying to do and what gift are they giving us?

Complaining is a customer giving us the opportunity

to find out what their problem is so we can help them

and encourage them to continue buying our products or using our services.

It’s like they gave us an article on their blog:

“Chance to Survive: Listen to Me and You’ll Keep Your Business”.

So please don’t say:

“Get out of here! I already have this singer’s CD

and I don’t want another one. I’m busy!”.

When faced with people like the customer who complains about intermittently dropped calls

and repeated billing errors,

many customer service reps often erect a barricade of questions like this asked:

“What is your name?

How is it spelled?

Your phone number? Your home address?

When did you start using the service?

What is the product serial number on your phone?

(If you don’t have that number on hand,

you can find it underneath your phone.

Those are tiny numbers that you might need a magnifying glass to read.)

bill of lading in front of you? What is its serial number?

How many online orders do you have?

What is your Purchasing Order Number (PO Nr)?

When was the last payment?”.

Maybe they’ll blame the billing system with a sigh and say,

“We’ve received a lot of complaints about the wrong billing.”

They may even attack their own company saying,

“Dropped calls like that happen a lot at our place.

It’s also strange that the advertisements claim that our company’s service quality is the best.

If that were true,

he would certainly be suspicious of all other cell phone network companies as well.”

With luck, these customers will receive an apology from more experienced staff.

But there are very few customer service reps who say thank you right away.

Maybe they’ll thank you at the end of the talk,

when you’ve probably been so infuriated that the thank you has become meaningless.

What if someone gives you a birthday CD and you respond with a series of questions: “Where did you buy it? Do you pay by cash or by credit card? Do you pay full price or buy at a discount – or on eBay? Come on, let’s be honest. How many songs are there? You heard it and downloaded it to your iPod, right? Why did you give it to me when you’ve never heard of it yourself? Just based on some crappy iTunes bestsellers, you want me to spend my time listening to this crap?”. You would never behave so rudely with someone who is giving you a present, unless you really have a problem with communication. Surely you will say “Thank you!” honestly – whether you already have that CD, or most of the songs on it, you don’t like.

The customer service staff’s perception has a profound effect on what happens during a customer interaction, especially when a customer raises a complaint or asks for help. In a study on the impact of employees’ sense of service in handling customer complaints, University of Alabama researchers questioned how service agents themselves affect customer service. to the use of Self-Service Technology (SST). Those who think SST helps them do their jobs better always take the time to teach customers how to use SST tools. Meanwhile, employees who consider SST to be a burden and not a utility for anyone will not hesitate to step in and operate the tools themselves on behalf of the customer. As a result, their clients don’t have the opportunity to educate themselves and ensure that after they leave, they will face the same difficulties again. Obviously awareness is important, even though service staff may not be aware of the impact their attitudes have on their own behavior.

A survey of retail banks in Europe found that there is a direct link between how managers think about customer complaints and how customers behave when they complain. In other words, customers may perceive an organization as always treating complaints as a gift, or just perceive it as an undesirable but still welcome thing. A detailed study of two Swedish banks also supports this idea. Studies show that in small businesses, managers achieve success because they have taken complaint handling as the main tool in creating satisfaction for customers. loyal goods.

So, how can we internalize the idea that complaint is a gift? First start by figuring out what a complaint is.

D. What is a complaint?

In the simplest sense, a complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction about unmet expectations. But more importantly, it is an opportunity for an organization to reconnect with its customers by revising a service or dealing with a broken product. Complaints, then, are gifts that customers give to an organization. Everyone benefits from carefully opening these gifts and seeing what’s inside. On the surface, customers might just complain that the jeans they just bought shrunk or the color was washed out, ruining a whole bunch of their white clothes. But more deeply, the customer is giving the store a chance to respond so they will continue to buy more clothes from that store. On the surface, customers only complain that the vacuum cleaner they just bought doesn’t meet their needs. But deeper, they’re trying to see how the retailer will get the vacuum cleaner back.

On the surface, customers just said they had to wait three and a half hours for someone to install their expensive computer. But deeper, they’re talking about the concern that they’ve made a bad buying decision. Or, another worry would arise in them about whether it would still run well for many years.

On the surface, customers might complain to the grocer that the turkey they bought didn’t have entrails and head, legs, wings, and neck, but it wasn’t until Thanksgiving that they found out. , and at that time the shop was closed for a holiday. Deep down, customers are wondering if the grocer will take their word for it and how it will make up for the disappointment.

On the surface, a customer assures an insurance agent that they have called the insurance company to ask a simple question, and yet after several days of waiting they still have not received a response. But more deeply, customers are warning that they will consider a rival company when their policy is due to renew.

In your opinion, do most customer service reps just hear complaints or do they really understand the underlying messages? We have to say that, unfortunately, too many of them only hear sentences from the surface. (“You probably won’t believe what I hear from a client! Their turkey has no entrails and head, legs, and wings. I said, ‘Let me live with it.’ How much. people are starving out there, and yet here they are complaining because their ten-pound turkey has no heart!) As a result, those complaints were handled poorly. , lack of empathy, and of course they lose customers.

When businesses listen to customers with a more open attitude and based on more flexible perspectives, they will perceive complaints as a gift. Unfortunately, most of us don’t like to hear complaints, and when we hear from our customers, we often erect huge psychological barriers. Even, as we will discuss later, many customers are not willing to give us their complaints, but simply switch to another supplier.

E. Why do we not like hearing complaints?

On the surface, everyone seems to understand why complaints are so often shunned. Who likes to hear other people say they don’t like something about them? But once someone says it, something is wrong on our part. Complaining is akin to blaming, or what psychologists call negative attribution.

When something happens in a positive way, people tend to attribute it to themselves or receive praise for their own behavior. For example, when a customer buys a shirt, if she is praised by many people, she may think she was wise to choose that shirt, even though it is the salesperson who finds the shirt. shirt and introduced it to her.

However, things would be very different if something bad happened. Most of us blame other individuals or systems when things don’t go well.

Indeed, according to research by Saint Louis University, customers tend to blame specific businesses or specific individuals. This means that employees, especially those who directly meet or talk to customers, will be blamed as soon as there is a product or a service that does not bring the expected utility. On the staff side, they behave roughly the same way. When receiving complaints, they also tend to blame the customer. When customers have socially unacceptable attitudes (such as yelling or berating), they almost always exhibit a negative attitude toward the customer. With such a negative view of the situation, they are not willing to return the product to the customer, or if so, they do not make the exchange of the product comfortable for both parties. However, many employees understand that blaming the customer is not the right behavior for customer appreciation or promotion, so they hide their feelings and try to explain it with easy arguments. Accept it rather than find out why things are broken. But most commonly, employees often blame the business, the policies or the company’s management structure. Employees can tell customers, “I really want to help you, but unfortunately I can’t do more because it’s our company policy…” or “I give up! I will be criticized if I do this for you. I sincerely apologize to you.”

Unfortunately, blaming the company’s policies doesn’t do any good on customers because it doesn’t help them solve the problem, nor does it prevent customers from continuing to annoy employees. Even when employees make it clear that they themselves do not agree with company policies, factors that prevent them from satisfying customers, most customers cannot distinguish what is their behavior. employees and what is company policy. Fritz Heider, the father of modern attribution theory, notes that most of us attribute the blame to individuals rather than circumstances related to faulty products or services. For example, if a service provider says, “I know this sounds weird, but I need…”, the customer might think, “If you already know this is weird, why would you? require this information?”.

Most service delivery processes today are complex, and mistakes are inevitable for many businesses or individuals. This means that service providers need to give a thorough explanation of what happened, not speak as if they are intentionally blaming someone else. For example: “I take responsibility for this, even though there are a few other people involved. We need to find out what happened, then I can help you with it.”

Wegmans Food Market, a well-known chain of stores in the upper northeastern United States, operates under the commitment of “You get the best from us every day”, which means “[we] ] will listen to your complaints so [we] can make things even better.” The Wegmans store chain was founded in 1916 and has received more than 30 major awards for its originality, quality customer service and for “changing the way we shop”. They just received the 2007 Food Network Award for Best Department Store.”

And Wegmans was also voted as one of the 100 best places to work in America by Fortune magazine: 2005, number one; in 2006 they held the number two spot and in 2007 the number three spot. Wegmans respects our commitment to our customers that: if a customer doesn’t like the item they’ve purchased, if the item doesn’t meet their needs, doesn’t meet the standards, they have the right to raise their concerns. Wegmans publicly posted customer complaints on their Web site; Feedback forms are easy to use, and obviously anyone can read them. The Web site clearly states that anyone living on this earth can submit a complaint to them and will surely get a response shortly. We’ve tried it and it’s true that it works. Vice President of Customer Service Mary Ellen Burris integrates all information related to customer complaints into her work plan and informs customers of Wegmans activities related to the responses they receive. For example, in a column on the Wegmans Web site, Mary noted that customers had complained that they could not easily read the product size information on the lids of the bleach bottles, and Wegmans responded to that comment. contribute to this by changing the cap color.

Complaining customers are often loyal customers to be able to accept and appreciate complaint as a gift, we need to change our perception and attitude towards the role complaint plays in modern business relationships.

This requires us to separate the language of the complaint from the emotion of being blamed,

to understand the motivations of disappointed customers and to think about how the complaint helps us achieve our business goals.

How is your business?

Take a look at the following examples from the housing industry,

and guess what these companies would think if they were asked to treat a complaint as a gift.

Marvin Windows & Doors noticed that window and door frames often rot and complaints only surfaced after the one-year warranty expired.

The cause of this problem was actually a wood preservative from Pittsburgh Paint & Glass (PPG).

But PPG shirked responsibility and Marvin Windows & Doors stepped forward to accept responsibility for its part.

They accepted to exchange damaged products, no longer cooperate with PPG suppliers and found a better supplier of preservatives,

so they were able to increase the product warranty from 1 year to 10 years.

In 2007, for the second time in a row, Marvin Windows & Doors earned top scores in the J. D. Powers and the Association of Civil Engineering Repair and Construction Companies Awards.

Dryvit Company manufactures heat and sound insulation panels and systems for exterior decoration of buildings.

In many of the claims, moisture had rotted the wood paneling outside the cladding, the main cause of which was later investigated as a fault of the builder during installation.

However, Dryvit still took responsibility and then added a dehumidification system to keep the product dry.

Dryvit also increases the warranty period to 10 years.

Thanks to this change, Oak Ridge National Laboratory,

the most prestigious testing agency of the US Department of Energy,

ranked Dryvit’s product 84% higher than a similar product of the second manufacturer.

In the late 1980s, the Louisiana-Pacific Building Materials Company began to receive numerous complaints about rotting of the timber outside the truss in the InnerSeal panel,

which is particularly common in climates in the Northwest – Pacific coast.

There are 800,000 homes using this product,

and customers have filed a class action lawsuit.

Louisiana-Pacific decided to take responsibility,

even though the damage was caused by installation errors, not the product,

and they replaced all damaged boards.

The company redesigned the entire plank to make the product resistant to humid climates,

named it SmartSide, and claimed a 50-year product warranty.

Six years after the announcement of this preeminent feature,

the company’s market share expanded many times over before,

and was also recognized by the market through the numerous awards they had received.

Dudley Webre purchased a lumber yard in Luling, Louisiana,

since it was not yet a promising business area in the area.

Webre went directly to the contractors to find out what were the issues that worried them the most.

It turns out that the lumber yards only deliver when the trucks are loaded with enough logs.

That means contractors must protect their timber from theft.

So Webre offers smaller payloads to both eliminate thieves

and help customers save money by reducing theft,

even though they end up incurring a slightly higher cost.

The result is,

From 1982 to 1994, Laundry Lumber increased their business capacity by 300%.

Once customers take the time to complain, they also have some faith in your company.

After all, as long as they complain, they are still our customers.

Former President Bill Clinton,

through campaigning for his wife during the fierce contest between the two Democratic presidential candidates in 2008,

told a story with the intention of reminding all members of the campaigning to keep in touch with undecided voters.

He said that when he was Governor of Arkansas,

he never gave up on finding another vote in favor.

When Clinton was campaigning at an oil company where,

thanks to government intervention,

three hundred employees were kept from losing their jobs.

Clinton met an employee who clearly didn’t like him,

who told him, “I never voted for you.

Even if you were the last person on earth,

I wouldn’t vote for you!” Clinton replied,

“Hey, man, I gave you the job!” He replied,

“Yes, but you do it just so you have an extra taxpayer.”

“Well, I consider him a hesitant voter,” Clinton said.

All the customers who come to you complaining are also hesitant customers.

They are still talking to you. Don’t miss them!

Be honest, because it’s an important part of your customer acquisition strategy

Read complaints in the eyes of customers and you will find it easier to treat them as a gift. Imagine yourself as a customer complaining about something. What will you think and how will you feel? How is your reaction? What do you expect? What can cheer you up? For you, what is the necessary response to get out of this confrontation and feel comfortable with your complaint and feel better about the company? Any conduct based on honesty is always a good start.

Are there any customers trying to ruin your business? Certainly yes. But you can’t treat all customers as if they were thieves just to protect yourself from a few true thieves.

Guy Kawasaki, author of the best-selling book Selling the Dream,

writes on his blog: “The point is to never label the worst-case scenario as common.

If we put in place a policy to focus on the worst case scenario, the worst person,

that effort will backfire and offend the majority of customers.”

It is estimated that 1 – 4% of customers systematically cheat companies.

Most companies see this type of behavior as part of the cost of doing business,

although everyone finds it better to minimize that loss.

It is clear that the Internet has given rise to many dishonest intentions.

Fraudulent activities of any kind are rampant on the Web.

The key is to keep your phishing antenna on alert without offending honest customers.

George Sarris, the owner of The Fish Market in Birmingham, Alabama, was asked for $6.89 by a frustrated customer, which was payment for a dinner he claimed to have spent at the restaurant.

Sarris often have close contact with customers, so when I find I can’t remember this particular customer, he became suspicious and decided to investigate.

He made a few phone calls and learned that this man had been eating and drinking all over town, then pretended to be upset and always demanded that the restaurants pay him back $6.89!

Most other restaurants pay for it because the amount is too small for their destructive reputation. If this is the case, it’s best to write a gentle, polite, courteous reply (according to the Gift Formula presented in Chapter 6) and make it clear that you would be happy to return the number. money on request. In any case, don’t question the integrity of this “god” but ask him for a copy of your bill or some other personal information for your records. If you’d like, include a stamped, pre-addressed envelope for them to respond more easily – if the complaint is legitimate.

Always be on the lookout for someone taking advantage of your business with excessive claims… Other customers who see your reaction will understand that you respect your customers and take every feedback into consideration. customer feedback as gifts. These people will give more consideration when giving their own feedback.

Tom Weir, the editor of Grocery Headquarters, recounted how he watched a customer cursing loudly and murderingly demanding the return of a carton of milk he claimed to have bought early in the morning but was past its expiry date. and spoiled milk. The supermarket manager just sat in his room looking out at the cash register and replied loudly that customers should always check the expiry date before buying anything. This is a very good example of blame. After all, how many of us check the expiration date every time we shop? Since when did the customer become the person in charge of the inventory?

It’s not a great story, but Weir asked some interesting questions to see what message customers who had the opportunity to observe the scene received. That is, would the same thing happen to them if they complained at this supermarket? How is the brand of this supermarket affected? Do customers think it’s the supermarket’s policy? Weir then asked questions about the message the salespeople would get from the story. Do they find angry customers unreasonable? If so, what is the limit that an employee can refrain from attacking a customer? It was clear that other customers saw the customer’s lack of restraint, but as Weir pointed out, they must have also noticed that the customer’s complaint was legitimate and that he was treated impolitely. These people will wonder if the company really cares about taking care of their customers.

If an individual or company assumes that they find complainants suspicious and indecent, the customer will immediately turn on the defensive or fight back. Worse, they will walk away angrily and say nothing to the company’s upper management but will tell everything to everyone they know. At that point, you will no longer have the opportunity to protect the company’s reputation.

Some people lack communication skills, so when they complain, they may have excessive attitudes or behaviors. They look grumpy, angry, or even a little silly. Maybe they don’t know what is reasonable. Service providers must know how to focus on the content of the complaint and the emotions expressed, not on whether the complaint is expressed in a socially acceptable manner. are not. This requires a lot of effort on the part of the service providers, but once they realize that complaints are gifts, that’s when they start from the strongest of foundations to excellently manage one of the most difficult aspects of customer relationships.

F. Discussion questions

How does your company perceive customer complaints? What are the different views on complaints in your company? How do you talk about your complaining customers? Do you consider them to be the one bringing you gifts?

Same complaints, but how do employees who deal directly with customers and managers in your company see the difference? What is the salient point of the view that complaints are an opportunity to please frustrated customers?

What do your employees in direct contact with customers say when they can’t solve a customer’s problem? Are they inclined to blame company policy? How often do they make apologies? What kind of reactions do these words cause in customers?

What specific lessons have you learned from complaining customers?

Does your company have appropriate approaches to encourage customers to raise complaints to learn from them?

Do you think your company handles customer complaints better than other companies in the same line of business? If yes, where does your company rank in this group of companies?

Do you aim to reduce customer complaints? How does that affect your approach to complaint handling?

Part 2: Complaint

A. Something you don’t want but have to accept, or is it your chance?

If you’re a parent, you’ve probably told your child sternly, “I’m mad at you because you can do better!”. Or when you discipline them, you might say, “You have to know, this punishment hurts me more than you.” Children don’t usually believe this right away, but when they have children, they will perceive it differently than the negative feedback they received as children. Sometimes kids drive their parents crazy because they don’t live up to what we expect of them. Children say one thing, do another. They often forget to deliver on what they promised. They speak indistinctly. As parents, don’t ignore this behavior if you want your children to have a good life and become people we can be proud of. Does this sound familiar to you?

Fred Wiersema, business strategist and author, made an interesting point about customer churn when he said that companies must have done very stupid things to lose them. . He said: “I disagree with the current general view that loyalty has ceased to exist… Most customers have an incredible attachment to you… If you lose one customers, that means you really treated them badly. Is there anything wrong with your standards of conduct? Is there anything wrong with your day-to-day interactions with your customers? Or is something else wrong? Because you really have to behave badly for the customer to turn away from you.”

If we consider how often businesses lose customers, we will find that they are really stupid. Jeffrey Pfeffer, in What Were They Thinking? (What Are They Thinking?), claiming that companies do stupid things, such as driving customers away, mainly because they don’t take customer feedback into account. They take the job for granted and go on doing it, regardless of the impact of their decisions. Horizon Group, a human resource management and headhunting consulting firm, found that retailers lose between 25 and 40 percent of their core customers each year. This means that, in order to keep the bottom line from falling, most retailers have to work hard to find up to 40% of new customers.

There are many ways to make customers feel uncomfortable or even out of your store, and several companies have tried all of them. Two of the most common ways are ignoring negative feedback, or handling customer complaints poorly. Many people forget that well-handled complaints can create even stronger bonds between the customer and the business. Sometimes it becomes a matter of simplicity when you show your customers that you appreciate them.

The Nurse Next Door service, which operates out of Vancouver, British Columbia, has used the “humble pie” approach (admittedly it needs to learn more) to keep customers. Whenever there is a mistake, they send it to the customer a hot apple pie, with the words solemnly written: “We made a mistake and we apologize to you for this.” To this day they still do. It is estimated that they have kept $90,000 in revenue from these customers with a cost of just $1,300 for apple pie, or 1.4%. The success of Nurse Next Door is also not surprising. Researchers have previously demonstrated that good management of customer complaints can help lower marketing costs by reducing advertising. In fact, the money saved from advertising can offset the cost of compensating unsatisfied customers with the company’s products. According to these researchers’ advice, you shouldn’t just calculate the profit margin on each account payable when you have a dispute with a customer, but take the bigger picture – your total budget.

In 2004, we received an excited e-mail from a gentleman who had attended one of our ‘A Complaint Is a Gift’ seminars. In the letter, he told of a phone call he answered for the forwarding department, because the whole department had gone out to lunch together.

The customer was very angry and demanded immediate service. Unfortunately, there’s no way to get her delivery at this lunchtime because the whole department is gone. She cursed that she would never buy another product from this computer company again. The representative listened calmly and in his assessment, the customer could be the victim of service delays. When she finally calmed down, he said, “Oh, thank you so much for calling and telling us about this. This helps us a lot. I sincerely apologize for putting you in trouble like this. Obviously we can do much better. I will do all I can to arrange this for you immediately.” There was silence on the other end of the line. He said that by the time the forwarding department got back to work and handled her request, the customer thought he was the absolute best. If I hadn’t applied the “Gift Formula” to this situation, I don’t know what would have happened, he wrote. Maybe I’ll say something to make her angrier, and I’ll be shocked too.”

In many other cases, a difficult situation creates an opportunity for a company to make a strong impression on its customers. Zappos, an online shoe company, learned that a customer who bought seven pairs of shoes for her mother was critically ill, but because her mother had lost a lot of weight, she wasn’t sure what size the shoes would be. my mother’s feet or not. The girl’s mother died not long after the shoes arrived. In this situation, it’s obvious that returning the shoe to an online retailer is just the last thing on a girl’s to-do list, even though Zappos offers a no-fee return period of just ten years. five days from the date of receipt. Meanwhile, knowing that the sizes of these shoes are conjecture, a Zappos representative contacted her customer and asked if she would like to return any shoes. The girl told the agent about her mother’s death and said she would return the shoes as soon as possible.

It’s not like this heartbreaking woman meant to complain, but most clients hope to be treated gently by the company while they are dealing with personal circumstances that make it difficult for them. comply with company regulations. Zappos decided to step in. They arranged for the express delivery company UPS to come to the woman’s house and deliver the shoes to the company, the girl was saddened by her mother’s death because of this no need to bring the shoes to the UPS express company yourself. The next day, Zappos immediately sent a large bouquet of flowers to her house. The woman wrote online: “I burst into tears at their act of great kindness, and if it wasn’t one of the best things that ever happened to me, I don’t know what else in the world would have happened. there. So… IF YOU ARE INTENTION TO BUY SHOES ONLINE, BUY ZAPPOS SHOES. With such kind people, you know well that they are always a reliable partner.”

A true story that makes people say an emotional “Oh” after reading. This comment was posted online on July 7, 2007. More than four months later, 181 responses were also posted online. The comment section above is linked to thousands of different Web sites by people who appreciate Zappos’s nice gesture. There are hundreds of blogs about this story and you are reading it right now.

B. Complaints often contain the customer’s wishes

Customer complaints tell businesses how they can improve their services and products and thereby help them maintain market share. Leslie Byrne says that when she was director of the Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA), she could tell which companies are satisfying customers and which ones, simply by how to listen to the content of the OCA customer support line, where complaints do not spare a single company. She cites a case study on complaint handling and OCA’s conclusion: “It’s not a piece of hard to swallow as many managers think it is, but a valuable source of information for management. treat”. She advises: “Invite your manager on a customer enquiry hotline so that he knows what customers are thinking and he will surely quickly find out what needs to be done right in the organization. mine.”

John David, formerly a sales representative for IBM, commented on the competition: “The secret to selling is to establish a direct communication channel from the customer’s brain straight to the salesperson’s ear. When you clearly understand what customers want and don’t want, what makes them happy or complains, you can adjust your vision accordingly and stay one step ahead of the competition.” Eileen McDargh, author and speaker, wants to order an inflatable water bag that can be placed in the bathtub and can hold several gallons(3) of clean water. It’s a much-needed product for any resident living in Florida’s hurricane-prone area. McDargh, who lives in California, saw the ad in the Fort Lauderdale News and immediately ordered a bag for her mother, who lives in Florida. The phone number in the ad wasn’t correct, but McDargh thought the product was useful, so she persisted in going online and trying to order there. Unfortunately, she was unable to order online because the product was sent to a different address than her credit card address. She found the company’s phone number and called it directly. The operator reminded her that they do not accept orders if the product is sent to an address other than the billing address on the credit card!

The company left out valuable information when McDargh hung up the phone in frustration. First of all, the misspelled toll-free number in their (paid) ad doesn’t bring them add a customer. Second, as McDargh said, there are a lot of Floridaers living in other cities. Chances are, they are not in Florida when they see the ad, but they want to buy such a product for their loved ones living in Florida. McDargh said: “With this kind of service quality, how can people trust their products?”. Fred Wiersema says that clients who’ve been in situations like McDargh can drive you crazy, but in the end, they’re leading you into your own future. He explains that these “lead” customers – if you listen to them – will take you to a place where you will inevitably have to go in the future, too.

If businesses are able to recognize and fulfill the needs and wants of their customers, they are certainly willing to pay more for those products, even though they keep saying that they shop on the basis of consideration for their customers. price of the product. Then, companies will have more money to spend on research and development of products that they know will meet the needs of customers. This cycle if repeated from both the buyer and the seller will reduce the cost of the product.

Customer complaints also provide the opportunity to form incredibly close relationships with customers. Not having these kinds of relationships leaves the company vulnerable to losing customers. One client submitted a Matt Woodward blog post about the obvious: “Don’t you love companies that really understand you? Companies that strive to be ready to serve and be accountable to all customers create a true sense of trust and loyalty.”

Jim Norton, writing about small businesses that spring up like mushrooms after the rain, regrets the price they pay for ignoring customer complaints. He described a business situation between two companies that still baffled him after many years. The previous company he worked for made a serious mistake that made their client’s company seem very frustrated, but they did not complain a word and quietly decided to stop cooperating with his company. Jim when the contract expires. This information is kept confidential by the other party. A year later, Norton’s firm received a letter from the client’s attorney stating that the contract would not be renewed. Norton is forced to believe that “Customers say what they think about the flaws in your product or service because they want you to be better. And the people who don’t, they want you to fail.” He said it was a dream client that everyone wanted to deal with, but as a result he was unable to keep that client. He had no signal or clue that the company was about to give up his company.

A research team polled 1,179 supermarket shoppers and found that satisfied customers were more likely to complain than others. Then, after much more extensive research, they discovered that after complaining, these customers became more loyal.

The research team also compared the complaining customers with so-called “loyal customers” who were very satisfied with their shopping experience. They found that both groups were similar in age and frequency of shopping: 45 years old and shopping at least once a month. In other words, loyal customers and complaining customers are not much different. If so, then when talking to a complaining customer, think of this as one of your loyal customers. This mentality will help you find the right way to deal with customers in difficult situations.

Every time they listen to customers’ opinions, companies will have more new ideas to make their products and services more suitable to their requirements, to timely adjust internal processes to achieve their goals. more speed and accuracy, or improve the quality of the customer service department to serve better. Guess how many more inflatable water bags Fort Lauderdale could have sold (maybe they need to come up with an easier name!) if they made it possible for customers to order. order in one place and receive it anywhere else in the United States. This Amazon.com does very well every day. This simple change makes the big difference between the life and death of a company.

In many cases, information from customer complaints is not passed on to higher levels of management within the organization. Even if the complaint is separated from the competent management by too many layers (as in the case of an inflatable water bag, the customer complains directly to the operator), the company Communication channels should be established to identify customer service gaps and product defects. This management also allows service providers to confidently say to their customers: “What a great idea. I will definitely pass this idea on to our board of directors.” It’s one of the easiest ways to show your customers that they’re contributing to your company.

Remember that your company is facing an opportunity to fulfill its commitment to customers by taking care of their concerns, even the smallest complaints. If your strategy is to build lasting customer relationships, the company should have someone responsible for keeping in touch and letting customers know that their idea has been realized.

C. Complaint: One of the least expensive marketing tools

Directly responded to complaints is the most efficient and least expensive way to get information and understand customer expectations for your products and services. Other methods, which are more expensive and less direct, include looking at customer expectations in similar lines of business; conduct research based on transactions such as using secret procuring agents or external auditors; and research related to the ability to understand customer expectations, such as establishing customer focus groups. During the research phase, these methods don’t help you build more customer relationships. Furthermore, while large companies can afford to do such research, small and medium-sized companies should rely on customers to get their thoughts on the company’s products and services. company.

In most cases, customers won’t actively come up with groundbreaking ideas for you. They wouldn’t conjure up images of the Toyota Prius hybrid, they wouldn’t come up with an iPhone or an iPod, a pair of Bose noise-cancelling headphones or a Segway. Creativity is the job of the research and development department (R&D – Research & Development). But customer feedback can help refine product concepts for a certain customer segment. (A great example: the “inflatable water bag” might be renamed to make it easier to identify the feature than the “storm rescue bag.”) Richard Branson, of Virgin Atlantic, says he got a lot of workable ideas by listening to the passengers on the airline. For example, the idea to launch an in-flight massage service came from his wife’s masseuse, who flew with them on a flight.

Furthermore, businesses may never understand the needs of their customers until something goes wrong with a product or service failure. Customers can only submit their complaints to the company after the product has been invented and sold or service has been provided. That’s why you must be willing to listen and set up departments that are able to absorb this type of feedback to develop your products or services. Computer technology, for example, has grown as fast and powerful as the efforts of its users (through feedback) as well as the efforts of its owners.

For businesses that need to quickly adapt to the fast-changing market, listening and quickly responding to customers helps them meet customer expectations in a timely manner. For example, convenience stores often sell items that are in high demand within a few months. Customer complaints like “Why don’t you sell the item…?” immediately convey information that demand in the market is rapidly changing. Businesses that are less prone to market trends also learn this lesson. Market research can be considered static compared to complaining, and dynamic compared to the market. Notice how many of your own complaints actually contain a positive idea for the company. If so, keep asking yourself if the idea has been passed on to an authority and implemented within the company. Chances are usually no.

Here’s a very good example of how important it is to listen to your customers. In 1985, Coca-Cola was “bombed” on the 1-800-Get-Coke hotline at their headquarters in Atlanta because of complaints and protests from customers when the company decided to replace New Coke. with what is now called a Coke Classic. Coca-Cola quickly responded to the angry public, appeased shocked customers and averted a potentially huge loss. When a company only pays attention to the results of market research, it may hear only part of the story. After that incident, Coca-Cola did a more comprehensive study of New Coke.

One of the most common stories of poor customer service experiences is often the most talked about topic at dinner tables in outsourced call centers. Alan Angelo, a call center operator at Afni’s call center in Tucson, Arizona, says: “Many companies run after cheap labor overseas. But they failed to see the level of service that American customers expected. Now leading companies are bringing this back to the US.” Most of us find it very comforting to meet someone who has the same accent and culture as us. It was difficult for a customer to talk to a service agent in India to resolve an invoice problem and then be directed to another person in the Philippines to clarify the question the customer service center had in India could not answer. Customer care is not a phrase that pops up when something goes wrong. Albert Einstein summed it up subtly: “It is an obvious fact that technology has transcended human humanity.” In 2007, the trend of outsourcing this crucial part of customer service seemed to have taken a big turn. Many American companies are beginning to realize that they are losing customers by adopting this model. Dell Computer brought back the technical support department for corporate customers back to the US after receiving an overwhelming number of complaints about the quality of service.

Toyota Financial Services and Zappos are two of the companies that are determined not to use outsourced customer service. They excellently run their own call centers and offset the operating costs of these centers by increasing a large number of new customers with superior service quality. his superiority.

Marketing professionals often analyze what they consider important by consolidating customer feedback into a scorecard. For example, with hotels, rooms must be clean and service staff must be friendly because customers expect these things. However, the higher requirements are that the room must be really quiet, the table lamp must be bright enough and placed right next to the bed, the alarm clock must be easy to set up so that guests can rest assured reading until the night is over. fell asleep knowing that they would be woken up on time the next morning. Unfortunately, many hotels barely care about the brightness of the light or how simple the alarm clock is, or even if the room is quiet. In addition, they do not care about the font size in menus or instructions to see if the hotel’s direct phone numbers are large enough for customers to read clearly or not. If only the hotel had listened to the complaints, and the compliments of the guests, they would have had a lot of great ideas. Market research can yield this information if done correctly and carefully, but complaints tell it all in the blink of an eye.

In addition to calling for the reduction of product defects and service failures or poor processes, complaining customers are the ones alerting managers to human error at work. reception. Customers are often the first to notice that a company’s image has been tarnished by its own employees. In fact, managers may never know about customer mistreatment by simply observing employees while they are at work, because in general people take their work more seriously when there is a problem. their management side next to; or when they learn that phone conversations are recorded.

D. A customer’s value is tied to their shopping life

Keeping a customer is hard, but losing them is easy. There are countless statistics that show that if customers believe their complaints are well received and answered, they will almost always return to purchase. Moreover, for your loyal customers, not only is it easier for you to serve them because they know how to get their needs met; they know your products, employees and management system well.

You may think that customers who often choose low-priced products or services do not bring in a significant amount of revenue. Plus, when they complain about something, other customers are drawn in and notice you. On this point, you need to take a longer-term view. If the average customer buys a $20 book per month on Amazon.com, the total they will pay Amazon is $240 a year and it is likely that they will pay $10,000. throughout his life. The cost of each laundry is only 10 to 15 dollars. However, in a lifetime, a customer could easily spend $30,000 on this steam cleaning job. And this number does not include the number of friends or relatives of a satisfied customer who will be referred to you. A homemaker who typically spends about $25 a weekend on pizza and soda will bring in about $5,000 after four years to any company lucky enough to retain this customer. When something goes wrong with a customer, if the salesperson thinks the customer is buying $5,000 of pizza, they’ll probably have a different reaction than if they just saw a customer walk in and buy a normal pizza. Car dealers must also pay attention to this. The average American spends about $250,000 to $350,000 on a car during their lifetime. Knowing that will definitely make the customer contact staff know how to talk to their loyal customers or potential customers.

Some see selling more to regular customers as customer share; Market share is selling products to as many customers as possible. For most companies, about two-thirds of sales are brought in by repeat customers. Waiters in stores can at least identify their regular customers, but that’s not enough to exploit their full potential. For example, in the early 2000s, in-person Staples customers spent an average of $600 to $700 a year.

But if the same customer also purchases through the Staples catalog, he or she will spend twice that amount. People who shop through catalogs and in-store, and shop online, spend four times more than people who shop in-store. Because the revenue that a single customer can bring through all types of purchases is so great, and because no one can determine the true value of a customer by looking at their appearance, Therefore, all customer complaints must be handled carefully and quickly.

A survey by IBM found that if customers come to complain and leave the company without satisfactory resolution of their problems, less than half of them will return. In other words, if customers feel their problem has been satisfactorily resolved, almost all of them give the company another chance to sell. For each year they are retained, loyal customers bring in more profits for the company because marketing costs are spread over long-term sales. Robert LaBant, IBM’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, North America, says that for IBM, “every percent increase or decrease on the customer satisfaction scale equates to 500 million. dollars of revenue increase or decrease over a period of 5 years”. He said that to develop a new customer segment, IBM had to spend 3 to 5 times more than it cost to maintain existing customers. When Vonage, a VoIP (voice over internet protocol) phone company, went public, they provide information to the US Securities and Exchange Commission about a customer dissatisfaction rate of 2.11% per month in March 2006. That means 77,000 customers terminated their service in the first three months of 2006. Vonage found it necessary to spend marketing money to attract 77,000 new customers each quarter to avoid a slump. revenue reduction. Vonage is required to report the following:

“Therefore, if we are unable to retain customers or are forced to spend beyond our marketing budget to attract a sufficient number of new customers, revenue will inevitably drop and losses will increase. “. Vonage doesn’t mention how well they retain their loyal customers, but they do talk about the “huge amount of money” it has to spend to bring in new customers. Since studies of consumer buying behavior show us that a fairly high percentage of customers leave companies due to poor handling of their complaints, the question is Is there a more effective way to retain customers than simply dealing with their complaints?

E. Set a goal to reduce the number of customer complaints – pros and cons

Companies need to encourage employees to seek out complaints rather than try to alleviate them. If the company’s goal of complaints is to be less this year than last year, achieving this goal is a lot easier than you think. Employees will receive all messages from customers but they simply won’t report it to their superiors. How many times have you written a complaint and handed it to the receptionist of a hotel and wondered if your complaint was directed to the general manager’s desk? Many times we have trouble filling out customer feedback forms at hotels. We ticked the box expressing our desire to get a response to our complaint, but ultimately received nothing. As such, either the hotel did not handle customer complaints well, or the customer complaints were never directed to the right place. Once, while leaving the front desk, Janelle tried to glance back and actually saw the hotel staff ripping through her feedback forms.

It is possible that the intention to alleviate customer complaints comes from the statement: “We never received any complaints from customers”. David Powley, an auditor specializing in ISO 9000 Certification, says that when he hears that statement, he thinks of a company that doesn’t know how to identify customer complaints even if the customer says it directly. mine in their face”. Like many other researchers, Powley argues that “no disagreement” does not mean no complaints. Although not expressed in words, opinions are very important. Setting a goal to reduce the number of customer complaints can lead to a loss of the value of excellent customer service. One of the world’s leading car manufacturers produces only a sufficient number of vehicles to provide to dealers by collecting information from customers who have just purchased a new vehicle. So how do things go? First, the salesperson will politely ask the customer for permission to take a small survey to evaluate their vehicle experience. The salesperson asked: “Why don’t you give us all 5 points for the questions?”; or, “Why don’t you bring the form here so I can fill it out for you, that would be very convenient for you!” Some other employees are even more blunt: “We have your 5 points before the company can produce enough cars to sell”. When we told the salesperson that we couldn’t give them a perfect score, they bribed us with a free oil change or a full tank of gas, and once a whole set of tires. brand new car. The joy of just buying a new car is suddenly tarnished by the bad tricks of the sales staff. Therefore, companies need to carefully weigh the benefits of service quality surveys and the goal of reducing customer complaints. Customer service reps have a variety of ways to get you the numbers you want.

Shortly before Pan Am (Pan American Airways) was sold to United Airlines, a frustrated service worker sent a letter to the editor-in-chief of a newspaper, stating that Pan Am’s service was down. The problem is so severe that now customers don’t want to complain anymore. Number one was a Pan Am Boeing 747 full of guests on a week-long Club Med vacation. The plane arrived at the resort a day later than planned – and forgot to take all of your luggage! According to this former Pan Am employee, absolutely not a single passenger on that flight complained at all. Sometimes, a reduction in complaints can be a sign of a positive trend. In such cases, many companies will count the number of complaints they receive about a particular problem. For example, until the 1980s, Brooks Brothers was considered a high-quality clothing brand. Then the staff of the management board changed three times. The last presidents, Marks and Spencer, developed new quality improvement methods and noted that the number of complaints about the company’s product quality had dropped from 25% to 5%. That is a great result. However, Brooks Brothers only knows that complaints about product quality have dropped, but those numbers do not accurately reflect what customers are evaluating their products.

In 2003, Adelphia, a cable television service provider, received the most complaints (recorded) in Los Angeles. So they focused on the specific issues involved, and a year later there was a 54% reduction in complaints. One of the reasons for this achievement is that along with the goal of reducing complaints, the company also aims to improve the way it communicates with customers. In Los Angeles, this means hiring Spanish-speaking customer service representatives available 24/7, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

F. To satisfy customers, you must recognize hidden complaints

There are times when complaints do not reach companies due to their business organizational structure. You have to be creative to be able to hear every customer complaint. For example, many amusement parks outsource some of the decision making of their business. A park can contract with multiple subcontractors in the food and beverage industry to focus on the overall management of the park. As a result, food service complaints are reduced, or at least food service customer complaints aggregated to park management are also reduced (the reason is that the this complaint is received and resolved by subcontractors). From the perspective of the people who come to play in these parks, a poor quality hot dog sandwich or the unfriendly behavior of a certain vendor is still the responsibility of the park. They don’t know that restaurant is no longer under the direct management of the park. On the park side, they barely know about the existence of such bad services so they can’t fix it either.

Some companies conduct customer satisfaction surveys and learn more about complaints that are hidden somewhere. This is a nice idea. But who will participate in surveys like these? Unless the company has set a goal to consult with former customers who have purchased in the past, usually those polled are just existing customers who are still satisfied with the company. at an acceptable level. Customer satisfaction surveys don’t give any information regarding your group of disgruntled customers. The results of those surveys may give you some ideas, but you need to find the customers who have left you to know why they left. Only then can the company find real gifts.

If companies focus only on frequent complainers and do not seek feedback from non-complaining customers, they cannot get a complete picture of dissatisfied or unaware people. Why are they not satisfied? Those who voice their complaints do not represent the vast majority of people with hidden complaints that do not speak out. In the United States, in general, the people who complain the most are young, well-behaved white men with above-average incomes. They are the ones who don’t like to shop at a fixed store. For example, they are not a loyal McDonald’s customer.

G. Beware of word of mouth rumors and complaining behavior

It’s completely understandable why companies care so much about what the public has to say about them. Customer whispers can bring success or failure to a business or a product. Every customer that leaves you disgruntled is a potential threat in a market that is highly sensitive to complaints. Complaints can benefit or harm your company in three ways:

1- People are more likely to believe a personal recommendation than an advertiser’s eloquent statements

A study by General Electric found that referrals from customers’ acquaintances carry twice the weight of ads that are colorful and use big (but hard to believe) words. Perhaps you’ve seen a person who’s almost made a purchase change his mind when the customer standing next to him whispers, “I’m not going to buy that. I have the same one, it’s fragile! (or it fades easily, or deteriorates after just one wear, or the product doesn’t work as the manufacturer says, or you can buy a similar one for a cheaper price somewhere else).” But that customer will buy right away if the other person says, “Oh, I have one like this, great! I like it very much. Warranty is very good. Just buy it, you won’t regret it!”

Every bad rumor about a business after many rounds of word of mouth makes it harder for them to pass on marketing activities. People are more willing to listen to the advice of a good friend, or even a complete stranger, than to believe an advertising campaign that costs millions of dollars. John DiJulius, manager of John Robert’s Spa in Cleveland, Ohio, talks about ways to create positive word of mouth whenever a customer has a complaint. A customer entered the salon to dye her hair and had to leave with a garment stained with the dye. DiJulius sincerely apologized and sent her a check enough for her to buy a new set of clothes after the stains were washed and still not clean. He also gave one customer a free facial and manicure. DiJulius estimates that his store gained thirty new customers through this “beautiful gesture”, and to this day that customer still regularly uses the service at John Robert’s. She said: “At that time, I thought I would never come back here. But now I never think about going anywhere else.”

Negative word of mouth can even affect an entire business. Let’s take a look at the insurance industry. The industry’s image in the US is now at an all-time low. The Gallup Institute found that almost two-thirds of the customers polled believed insurance companies were charging too much for car owners, homeowners, and policyholders in the middle class. enterprise. The Gallup Institute also found that a staggering 61% of Americans believe that profits in the insurance industry are higher than in other industries and believe that companies are dishonest in their financial statements. their profits to conceal excessive profits. That’s a very bad mark. Each hotly debated claim settlement following countless natural disasters, especially the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, further convinces thousands that when they question claims with their insurance agents, all of which are handled badly.

Once you believe that your insurance company is, no matter how many times people say you are being treated well, you no longer believe it. “Suppose you have 10 fenders and 1 car is completely destroyed, guess which case won’t be resolved?” Insurance agents consider a claim to be settled when it meets certain conditions in the contract. And Hunter points out: “An insurance company can claim that a case is ‘solved! whether the complainant is still clamoring or is very reluctant to accept some of the things they ‘give’.” Remember that TV editors love to show people screaming at the evening news.

2- Effectively handling complaints is a powerful source of “good news”

Try reading articles on the Web about some of the service experiences bloggers (4) have written or recorded, or comment on reading comments posted on other people’s blogs. Blogs are exploding and it is estimated that every day about a hundred thousand new blogs are created, although many of them do not last long. Customer service stories are a top concern for bloggers. They are human stories and do not involve the immediate debates that are common on political blogs. If you’re not already a blog reader, an interesting place to start is Vox, a pretty cool free personal blogging service. Saska, a Vox blogger who has a blog called the Fiendish Glee Club, has this to say about herself: “I’m a photographer, a writer, a reader, a gamer, a mother, and a lover of brain games. I don’t want to grow up.” Saska posted a long story online about the strange service she received from Nintendo. She bought a brand new Nintendo Wii game console on the day it hit the market in 2007, the optical drive was making unusual noises from the start. As the noise persisted, Saska phoned Nintendo and she was invited to drop by their office because she lived nearby and they wanted to save her time. The after-sales service she received after that was “amazingly good”. She said, “…This is the Valentine’s gift I want to give Nintendo. It was the best customer service experience I have ever had.” And she uploaded to her blog some photos to prove her point. It was a fun read, and many people commented on her Web site and asked more relevant questions and boldly gave Nintendo positive comments. If you are planning to buy a set of video games, after reading this blog page, you will immediately choose Nintendo. Indeed, the Wii was the most ordered item for gifts during the 2007 Christmas season.

3- The more dissatisfied, the more customers tend to spread about their discomfort

If angry customers leave with complaints that have been voiced but have not been adequately handled, perhaps no company will be able to stop their negative word of mouth. But if companies listen and handle these complaints well, dissatisfaction levels will decrease, negative word of mouth will be less, and positive word of mouth will increase. If you try to read the complaints posted online, you will find that almost all of them are not handled well. It may seem as if customers simply want to speak up about their problems, but if companies don’t listen or listen with no response, they will immediately find one or more other people to “confide in”. “.

In cases where companies have easy exchange policies, we believe the public will have less negative comments about them. Costco is a prime example. Everyone knows their famous pledge “We accept returns – no questions asked!”. Costco even accepts returns without a receipt. In other words, Costco is telling its customers, “Please bring your complaints to us. We want to fix the problems you’re having with all of our products.” Companies will control negative word of mouth if they can demonstrate to their customers that they sincerely do everything necessary to create the highest level of customer satisfaction.

H. Consequences of poor handling of complaints

Ineffective service restoration or complaint handling practices can trigger a chain of negative reactions that potentially worsen product and service quality, and at the same time increase your business risk. Worst of all, poor complaint handling often begins with a disgruntled customer and ends with customers and businesses throwing negative attitudes at each other. Here’s a series of actions that were applied in the 1990s and still relevant in the 2000s:

Customers leave the business in discontent. They become “malicious ambassadors” (5) who bring all their unpleasant things to others to hear.

More and more people are starting to realize that business is not a place for them to complain because they can’t expect things to improve.

Customers stop complaining and businesses lose the opportunity to know what they can do to improve service or meet customer needs. (Or too many customers complain, so the business blindfolds their ears to stop hearing.)
As a result, the quality of products and services has not improved, leading to more and more dissatisfied customers.
Customers who still patronize the business will still come back, possibly because the prices are cheaper here. It is also possible that they come to think that the quality of products and services here is minimal.
Employees don’t feel comfortable helping difficult customers. Indeed, employees began to give customers names. (We once heard flight attendants on a flight of an airline struggling with sales say to each other as passengers boarded: “Here comes the animals!”.)

Employees increasingly feel that they do “one thing at a time,” and that it is a terrible job. Those who could have found better work elsewhere leave, thereby taking away from the business a wealth of experience and skills. People who stay have little incentive, so they are less likely to earn the trust, confidence, and loyalty of their customers.
In turn, this causes more and more customers to leave the business full of dissatisfaction, they will go tell everything they think to everyone they meet. They will not charge you a dime for this word of mouth advertising. And so this negative cycle multiplies.

Many companies do not pay attention to the actual costs incurred by losing customers. They can tell you exactly what they are doing to attract new customers and how much they have to spend on this, but they don’t seem to have a clue regarding the number of lost customers and why. Why do they lose customers like that? In 1989, data from a market study in the US showed which airlines were doing well and which were not. Eastern Airlines and Pan Am had the highest complaint rates and two years later both had to cease operations. (This study only counted complaints made to the Department of Transportation.) The next four carriers on the list are TWA, America West, Continental and US Airways, but all have managed to protect themselves from danger. bankruptcy in the following years.

Of the four carriers, only America West was able to reduce cost per payload mile. The airlines with the lowest complaint rates (United, Northwest, American, Alaska, Southwest and Delta), took ten years after this data was collected to actually hit the lower cost target. per payload mile, though all struggled after 9/11/2001(6). Here’s what the document means: a lower level of complaints indicates a higher level of quality, which means lower costs.

Another example The Better Business Bureau (BBB) ​​in eastern Missouri and southern Illinois issued a notice about 32 companies operating between 1997 and 2006. BBB warns customers Customers should be careful when doing business with these companies because their rate of unresolved complaints is quite high. There are 26 of which are no longer in operation. The BBB concluded that unresolved complaints put the business at risk of going out of business. “As a result, every unresolved complaint, or every disgruntled customer, can become a stepping stone that takes a business straight to the brink of bankruptcy.”


What are your ways of handling customer complaints as a source of market information?

What do you know about your company from listening to customer complaints? Are your employees and customers aware of these examples?

What are the ways you measure the number of customer complaints?

After summing up the number of complaints you’ve received, you can multiply that number (reasonably) to gauge the (but unstated) dissatisfaction from the customer for the type of product. your business model? Do you compare the ratio of complaints to the total number of customers you have in hand? How much does it cost to get a new customer?

How many customers have you lost in the past year? Who are these customers?

How much money do your customers “spend” on you over their lifetime?

What do your customers say about you in the market? What plans do you have to control this type of conversation or customer word of mouth?

Part 3: Turning complaints into benefits 

Restaurant staff, in a column of a Hong Kong-based magazine, were quoted in the media when they described the complaining diners as “the whine… boastful… demanding… hot-tempered… rude… those who consider themselves the navel of the universe… power-hungry… stupid… blatant cheaters… and cunning conspirators.” Even researchers can’t avoid calling customers by names. One group of researchers divided “problem” diners into five categories: Disrespectful Betty, Intimidating Harold, Fidgety Fickle, Ignorant Iggie, and Dictator Dick. These nicknames are sharp, but they also contribute to a negative perception of consumers. A research team at the University of Florida divided consumers into groups: docile, aggressive, spendthrift, cheat, and chronic nagging. Of course, none of these nicknames refers to a customer who wants to receive what has been promised by suppliers or a complaint that has been resolved.

Most complainers aren’t actually scavengers; In fact, they represent a sizable group of consumers.

To turn complaints into benefits, you must first listen

Indeed, how wonderful the world would be if the services or products worked all the time. However, according to product research experts, most businesses can only achieve the lowest error level of 10-15%. Therefore, we will definitely have problems when using any product or service. Therefore, companies need to learn how to restore service – a process of correcting mistakes to being right. To start restoring service, a company must first know that a problem has occurred, and that it is impossible for everyone in the company to find fault on their own.

To make sure customers are willing to voice their displeasure, their expectations must first be met, starting with understanding how those expectations are formed throughout the sales process. row. Customers are more likely to voice their dissatisfaction if they trust the quality of the product and believe that any issues will be dealt with equitably and quickly. In these situations, they will be on your side and their complaint is to regain their sense of satisfaction. The following are the possibilities that may arise when customers react and combine with business feedback.

The content of Quadrant 1 deserves a round of applause, a celebratory party, perhaps even champagne. On the surface, the situation looked good because from the company’s point of view, everything went smoothly, and the customers also seemed to confirm this because they didn’t complain, but praised. In fact, unless you actively ask questions, companies don’t know exactly what percentage of customers are satisfied because most of them don’t say anything. According to the trend, managers and people who directly sell or supply service often blames customers when things go wrong rather than taking responsibility for themselves. It seems that when customers are silent, most people pat each other on the shoulder and say, “We must have done a great job!”. However, this can be a serious mistake. Some of the customers the company considers to be in Quadrant 1 may actually be in Quadrant 3.

The Quadrant 2 situation requires the company to do some consulting with the customer. Sometimes customers complain about things that are not the company’s fault. For example, airline passengers complain that the airline made a mistake because they missed their flight, when in fact they misread the information on the ticket. In this case, even if the customer is not right, they are still the customer. Furthermore, it’s not just the customer who makes mistakes; Employees themselves can also be professional liars. From a business perspective, listening to these customers is an opportunity to learn from them. If many passengers misread the information on their tickets, perhaps airlines should redesign their tickets to minimize this error.

When customer service takes responsibility for a mistake, or at least an apology, it shows that they care about the customer. At the end of December 2007, a young Canadian employee working in the oil and gas industry received a mobile phone bill of $83,700 due from Bell Mobility, a subsidiary of Bell Mobility. Bell Canada. It turned out that this guy, while working alone in an oil field, was using his mobile phone to surf the Internet. He thought he could surf the web without limits because he bought a $10 plan. This story made a big splash among consumers in Canada and Bell Mobility, yielding to customer pressure, agreed to reduce rates to $3,400. That’s a significant reduction, but it’s still too much for a young man whose only income is a monthly salary. Our opinion is that Bell should cancel this bill and use it as a practical example to make it clear to other customers that their “unlimited” plan doesn’t actually mean ” unlimited” everything. Maybe they should also get rid of the word unlimited in their ad. This fact shows that most people don’t read the tiny print when they sign these types of contracts. So the words in bold for advertising purposes need to be consistent with the small “must” words.

Quadrant 3 represents the biggest problem for companies: customers say nothing about problems they have. If a business comes to the conclusion that when the customer says nothing, there is no failure in the product or service. And Quadrant 3 doesn’t have to be. We believe this is a silent killer that has killed many companies. One of the ways to help companies completely change this group of disgruntled customers is to give them the opportunity to speak their mind. For example, in the financial services industry, for the sole purpose of increasing customer satisfaction, channels for receiving information have been established specifically designed to maximize customer satisfaction. . Once given the direct phone number of the bank manager, it means that the customer will know how to contact the bank if something goes wrong.

Another way to get more feedback from your customers is to ask them whenever possible. Ask them questions like: “How does this feature of the product help you? Duration

How is our feedback? Wouldn’t it be better if we did it like this? For you, what is the most outstanding feature of this product?”.

As Martha Rogers, a partner at Peppers and Rogers Group, says when a company integrates customer inputs: “We’re getting further and further along the perception curve to finally be able to create a unique product that completely fulfills all your wishes because you helped us create it.” Marketing AMA award winner John Huppertz considered which of the following factors is most likely to make customers more willing to voice their complaints: no-questions-asked refund policy due to, employee empowerment, easy access to call centers, or reduced storage hassles for returned goods. Let’s take a look at four complaint-friendly approaches in retail, which do you think will have the most impact on getting customers to speak their mind? According to Huppertz, all four of these ways make businesses appear more complaint-friendly, but only a refund policy that doesn’t ask for a reason encourages customers to voluntarily raise a complaint.

Daryl Travis, a founding member of Brandtrust Consultants, especially encourages clients to give the company feedback. Customers like to be consulted, he says, whether not in mass surveys or in surveys that target a focus group. “You have to create an insatiable craving for constant feedback,” says Travis. He advises businesses not to let any of their customers fall into Quadrant 3. When Gary Kelly took over as CEO at Southwest Airlines in 2005, he held two-day long meetings with passengers (which included a couple of days). all 6 groups participated).

Unlike surveys that target a focus group that Daryl Travis finds suffocating, this is a way for passengers to let things go with the head of Southwest. At the conclusion of these meetings, Kelly said, “It helps me prioritize the things we need to keep doing.”

Sun Microsystems, along with a number of other high-tech companies, has set up rooms in commercial showrooms in which senior managers chat with attendees to gather information. the valuable information of the market in a short time with the lowest cost. Ed McQuarrie, a marketing professor at Santa Clara University, recommends that executives visit customers regularly to keep up-to-date with what’s going on, and not simply send marketing or sales reps. salesman to sell. He said:

“Customer visits are like market research,” where you have the opportunity to listen to your customers talk about the problems they are facing and how helpful your products and services are. no help to them.

WinterSilks started selling silk clothing in the early 1980s,

first in catalogs, then on the web, and now has a specialty store in Madison, Wisconsin.

The company develops systematically, mainly based on finding positive feedback customers to help guide their growth.

Outstanding efforts have brought them in contact with thousands of different customers.

All collected information is aggregated to make the company more agile when approaching business.

WinterSilks lists the top ten customer concerns and actively seeks to respond to these concerns.

John Reindl, executive vice president,

said: “Compared to the benefits, these efforts are insignificant.

To be competitive, you have to do it.”

As self-service technology (SST) becomes more and more popular,

there will be a sizable number of customers (this number is increasing)

who feel their needs are not satisfied and they have absolutely no way to communicate.

Report equipment problems to the responsible person,

at least as far as they know. Recently, Janelle happened to stop at a truck stop,

which contains fast food restaurants, a large retail store,

restrooms and a game room.

Janelle counted all the visible SST devices in her line of sight and finally stopped at 46.

All the staff working at this stop were very busy,

so there would be no one there. reports that a certain SST machine is down.

Very few devices have a list of contact phone numbers in the event of a problem with the device.

Of course, there are a few people who call these numbers,

but most of the rest will immediately find another phone

or some other way to meet their needs.

You need to remember that every day that a machine stands idle is another day of loss in revenue.

Let’s take a look at the barriers that make it difficult for customers to present their complaints.

Do you force them to write letters on the form or call special numbers?

Do you require customers to present multiple documents every time they want to exchange or request a refund?

Do you give them adequate time to report an issue?

These demands, coupled with displeasure

or unresponsiveness to complaints, create a pervasive mentality that “nothing will happen!”.

So encourage your customers to ask questions t

o identify what’s really bothering them.

Dealing with the Quadrant 4 situation,

where a customer is talking to you about their problems,

requires a very high level of communication and problem-solving skills.

Communicating with complaining customers is

when you get the most information and also the best opportunity

to restore service and make the necessary changes.

If the company can correct mistakes and accept responsibility with a polite and friendly attitude,

customers are willing to give the company another chance.

One of our colleagues at TMI-US is a professionally trained chef.

She bought two very expensive cuts of beef at a store that she went to many times a week to shop.

(She loves fresh food!) The next night,

when she was about to make the steaks,

they had turned brown.

She brought them back to the store and told the woman who used to sell them to her at the meat counter.

The salesman said, “Didn’t you leave them outside for too long?”

Then this person immediately added a sentence:

“Surely your refrigerator is not cold enough”.

My friend finally exchanged two other pieces of fresh meat,

but the incident caused her to no longer sympathize with this shop.

Could this incident be handled differently? The employee should first thank the customer for returning the meat

because obviously the store needs to double check with the supplier.

She could have apologized and even offered an extra piece of meat to the customer to make up for the annoyance.

After she has exchanged goods, she should ask a few more questions to make sure the customer understands that this is not a “teaching”

and sincerely apologize to the customer for asking such questions.

Sales staff can even ask customers why these cuts of meat are discolored in less than 24 hours.

At that time, the customer will surely be an enthusiastic collaborator with the seller and in the next time,

the seller can inquire about the dish that she has cooked.

That’s how to build lasting relationships.

Companies always benefit when customers speak their mind,

and this is why companies need to let their customers know that they welcome complaints and feedback. return.

This means that employees who deal directly with customers must know how to recognize when something is wrong.

For example, a person calls a long-distance telephone company to complain about the billing process they are using as follows:

“The service you provided me is not good”.

“Yes, that’s right, I follow the company’s regulations!”,

the representative replied. Obviously, this company does not advertise their services like:

“We give you a very good service: that is, we always follow the company’s rules”.

The public would laugh, but obviously someone in the business had

to instruct the young employee, or at least imply, that this was what she was supposed

to do and answer when a customer asked a question.

Retailers estimate that up to 74% of dissatisfied customers can be retained if the problem is fixed,

but as we have seen, most customers never complain

(or only complain if they have a problem) mess with the expensive items they bought).

Therefore, the retailer that advocates encouraging customers

to make complaints must be the pioneer in restoring service.

Turn complaints into benefits by recognizing common customer service flaws the process of restoring service does not happen automatically,

but companies need to think very carefully about possible failures

and have to consider backup solutions (because they will inevitably happen).

For example, hotels need to train cashiers on how to deal with billing errors, room-related problems, and overbooking requests.

Airlines are required to teach employees

how to behave in the event of late arrivals,

late takeoffs, oversold flights, lost luggage, and canceled flights.

Grocery sellers must know what to do and say in front of the line of dragons and snakes at the checkout counter.

Retailers need to know how to handle promotional out-of-stocks, staff shortages and sudden price spikes.

Does every business proactively look for common mistakes and take precautions when problems arise?

For example, could any of the following situations occur in a dentist’s or doctor’s office?

Patients have to wait two hours for their turn to be seen.

Patient does not carry health insurance card.

Patients must hear rude words from technicians or overworked staff.

If a business actively collects complaints and tracks them closely,

they can easily compile a list of the types of service problems that often recur.

The business must then consider its responses.

Some companies do a very good job of restoring service.

Those are the companies that do a great job of training employees to anticipate customer problems,

even something as simple as reminding customers

that the product they just purchased requires a battery to work

. In companies with service recovery processes, employees

who are in direct contact with customers know they have the company’s support in fixing product and service flaws.

So when they sell an item to a customer,

they know they’re selling a commitment to be fulfilled.

Nordstrom is considered a chain of retail stores with the quality of customer service is rated among the best, but the system’s boss,

Bruce Nordstrom, said: “We don’t want to talk much about service quality. our service.

The truth is that we haven’t reached what people give us.

Reputation is something very fragile, fragile.

You have to work day by day, hour by hour.”

A few years ago, in a citywide poll conducted in Phoenix, Arizona,

residents were asked to name their favorite department stores.

Nordstrom won by a considerable margin,

though it wasn’t until 2009 that Nordstrom started opening stores there.

(There are several Nordstrom stores located in the vicinity,

but Phoenix itself has none.) How did Nordstrom create such a legendary reputation?

Part of the answer is the impressive service attitude of the employees

who work at Nordstrom at all times, everywhere.

We’ve heard many businesses confess that they never did the same thing Nordstrom did for their customers.

That is simply not true.

Nordstrom wasn’t always able to pull off these feats, but this “everywhere” has had the impact it needs.

New York consumers voted Nordstrom as the best store for making shoppers feel like a special customer.

Besides, Nordstrom’s success is also due to their very open exchange policy (though not without limits).

The most thrilling story to be told about Nordstrom is a famous example that seems to be bogus. The story goes that Nordstrom refunded an elderly customer and received a pair of tires that were clearly used,

even though the retailer did not sell tires.

If you want to read the full story of this fascinating and what made Nordstrom famous, visit the Web site of urban legends Snopes.com.

The bottom line is, you can build a reputation day by day,

but always make sure you’re doing everything right.


Let’s collect as many complaints as possible

The most important reason why customers complain is

because they believe their complaint will work.

We need to distinguish between frustration and customer complaints.

Maybe the customer is very disgruntled and hasn’t said anything at all,

or they’re just a little bit displeased and willing

to talk about it if they believe the company will do something for them.

To create conditions for customers to talk to you,

you must first build a unique culture in your business,

where everyone knows that customer feedback is considered a marketing investment is not an expense.

One of the simplest methods can be mentioned is using a form to record customer information. Name the form “Customer Gift”.

Customers will see that you are serious if you are willing to take notes on what they say.

If you don’t save customer feedback,

you’ll quickly forget about them.

When you host an event for clients,

give them a call after the event is over.

A restaurant owner often phoned all of the hostesses who served eight or more diners, even though they didn’t complain at all.

“We know that with such a large party, we often cannot control all the possible situations,

and maybe the hosts do not want to complain to us in front of the guests,” he said others.

These hosts are important customers,

they often spend a lot of money.”

Many young people like to communicate through online chat sites

, including chatting with pictures on the Internet.

(If you Google the phrase live chat, you’ll get over 82 million results.

And if that number is overwhelming,

go to Wikipedia [www.wikipedia.com]

and search for the word. online chat (online chat) to read a fairly complete summary on this topic.)

Instant messaging allows one to talk privately with one another in real time.

Technologies for cash transfers

and Internet vouchers make reimbursements instantaneous in online chats.

Blogs are also another way for companies

to talk directly to their customers, and they can be created to pool information about companies’ own Web sites.

Toll-free phone lines are still one of the classic best ways to communicate directly with customers, especially for one-on-one customer contact.

Toll-free numbers have been available in the US since 1967, the same year the service was first introduced to the public.

Today, 98% of American adults use these toll-free numbers; 52% of them make 50 or more calls in a year.

Making it easy for customers to place free calls from a Web site increases the effectiveness of advertising, whether online or in print.

Based on its research, AT&T says 86% of customers prefer to call a toll-free number rather than write a letter to the company,

and 62% of customers are more likely to shop at companies with a toll-free phone line. more cost.

In short, a company without a toll-free phone line is at a competitive disadvantage.

Of course, not all toll-free calls convey customer complaints.

There’s no exact data to show what percentage of those calls are complaints,

but AT&T estimates that a “sizable portion” of toll-free calls are complaints customer complaints or reactions, especially when these phone numbers are printed on the product.

AT&T prints a Free Telephone Yearbook each year.

Many of these phone numbers are used for sales,

but they can also be used to receive customer feedback. Any business

Every decision to use a toll-free number requires careful calculation of what they want to achieve.

If your business installs toll-free phone lines and informs the public without strict controls,

it is likely to have more problems than companies that do not hide themselves contact with customers.

You should at least make sure that your staff can handle the volume of incoming calls.

A large retailer specializing in wooden furniture has learned a lesson in this.

The retailer’s top management is about to install toll-free phone lines

and make them available to the public. In just the first two weeks,

the number of calls had reached thousands beyond the capacity of the system to handle,

making customers very uncomfortable.

Customer dissatisfaction must have been beyond the company’s expectations. The lesson is clear: toll-free phone lines must be piloted for a while before they are officially rolled out.

TARP, a well-known US customer service research firm, concludes that toll-free support lines are an attractive benefit to companies – unless calls are handled poorly. . As TARP warned a decade ago:

If the (customer service) system is not designed

to efficiently handle customer interactions and use that data in moderation ignoring the root cause of problems,

then the company should not tie itself to such contacts.

TARP’s cross-industry survey shows that an ineffective customer service system causes more damage

to the market than not actively implementing customer service.

The decision to market a toll-free phone channel for customer support/feedback was a strategic decision;

Also determining what details to answer for these calls is a tactical decision. Some companies don’t do this well.

For example, if a voicemail system is bundled with a toll-free number,

it must be carefully managed to avoid a situation called voice-mail jail.

This situation occurs when callers are stuck between repetitive menus,

being led around without being able to connect with a real person.

TARP’s president, John Goodman,

said there would be great damage

to the company-customer relationship if the customer failed to contact the company’s responsible person.

Goodman says customer satisfaction drops by about 10% if they are forced

to leave their name and contact number on voicemail and wait to be called back.

An article on expanding the business culture (using a toll-free phone line) lists the benefits of customer complaints as follows:

Enhance consumer trust:

Customers think you are more trustworthy if they can get in touch with you easily.

While Honda doesn’t say that the toll-free number alone has made its Acura line a success,

it does assert that the installation of the line has sent a very clear message to customers, that is:

“We do not leave you alone if you have trouble using our product”.

Immediate customer feedback:

Paul Walsh, former CEO of Pillsbury, says:

“If there’s something wrong with our product,

I hope we’ll be the first to hear about it.”

Reduce Complaints About Common Problems:

If customers call just to ask for information,

you can take the opportunity to educate them on how to avoid other problems.

Armstrong World Industries printed a toll-free number on their unpolished flooring

and instructed customers to call Armstrong to learn how to remove the number.

The phone number was easily lost with warm water,

but while Armstrong talked to customers on the phone,

they were instructed by Armstrong on how to maintain the floor

to avoid problems caused by wax polish.

Armstrong World believes that providing free phone consultations

to customers can help control negative emotions of customers

and estimates that Armstrong generates a significant revenue of $12,000 per customer.

Armstrong views toll-free phone lines as a channel for generating income.

Helps reduce lawsuits:

Sometimes an immediate phone call can help resolve problems that arise before a client even starts thinking about litigation.

Increase product and market research information:

Callers who come in through toll-free phone lines will share with the company their likes,

dislikes, and what works and doesn’t work for them.

These call recordings can be played for product managers

and relevant employees to hear first-hand what customers are thinking.

Kraft General Foods prints toll-free phone numbers on most of their new product packaging and says:

“The numbers – 800- gave us a great feedback mechanism for product improvement, service and support. our service”.

Increase your chances of selling additional products:

While most companies view toll-free product support lines primarily as a way to strengthen customer loyalty to the brand brand,

this is also a way to offer customers additional products over the phone while they are calling with the intention of complaining:

“If you like (or don’t like) this product, I can also recommend this product.

I recommend it to you… Most of our customers say.

Can I send you a half-price coupon to try it out?”

Most companies find that the biggest hurdle

to overcome when developing loyal customers is convincing them to try the company’s products.

If they show interest in the product and the price is reasonable,

they will probably continue to use it.

Show special attention to special customers:

Setting up a separate toll-free phone line

for major customers is the company’s way of giving special attention and providing exceptional service to them.

United Airlines has a toll-free number reserved only for Global Service flyers,

who are frequent long-haul customers in United Airlines’ most expensive class source of additional complaints: In fact,

a toll-free phone line is the expression of the saying:

“We are not afraid; we just want to get more of your “gifts”!”.


Make Complaints Your Power in the Market

Recorded complaints will let you know what customers care most about.

Extensive research conducted over the past 25 years has shown that customers talk primarily about the problems that are important to them,

about problems they think can be solved, and about problems that they can’t solve.

They want the company to fix it.

This view of customers runs counter to the belief of many service providers

and managers that complaining customers often ask for things that are never available.

Complaining customers are the ones who put their money in the hands of businesses

and are trying in most cases to do the right thing that others consider wrong.

It may seem a bit paradoxical,

but to turn complaints into gifts,

you have to accept them with joy rather than wincing at them.

Here are a few examples.

After listening to customer complaints,

a travel agency realized that if visitors have positive memories related to food services,

the entire stay will be viewed as positive. pole.

Darty, a French supplier of household goods,

welcomes complaints from customers

when they tell the company that their products are not the cheapest on the market.

Their brand promise is what they will have to guarantee,

so quite literally, customers are divulging market intelligence

when they complain that Darty’s prices are not the lowest.

Frederick Reichheld emphasizes the importance of taking complaints positively

when he says that to create value for your customers,

you must understand what their point of view is,

what they want and what they don’t want.

Hopefully they will disclose this information to you during the complaint.

Customers and salespeople have quite different mindsets.

As noted before, customer service reps tend to blame customers

when a product or service goes wrong, while customers often blame the company.

Without understanding customers’ minds, companies often fail

to appreciate the reasonableness of customer complaints.

This makes it difficult for employees to see the link between complaining behavior

and the benefits they get from customer feedback.

Faced with a stack of complaints, a management team and a group of customers were asked if they thought the complaints were legitimate.

More than half of the managers considered these complaints unreasonable;

while more than half of customers support letter writers for having legitimate complaints.

The managers concluded that it was clear that customers wanted things they never had,

that they were confused, or that they were simply completely wrong.

If most managers had this mindset,

it wouldn’t be surprising that they wouldn’t listen to complaints,

and this thought would quickly spread throughout the business.

In another survey,

people compared the thinking of people who shop for clothes

and those who have cars that need to be repaired with the views of clothes sellers and auto mechanics.

All four groups were asked a hypothetical question about whether a service problem

(the car broke down shortly after being repaired)

or a product problem (seam broke) was caused by the customer.

Or is the product poor quality

or inadequate repair service.

80% of customers attribute the fault to the mechanic for negligent repair,

while up to 80% of mechanics blame the vehicle owner or “other causes”.

87% of customers believe that the seams are loose because of poor quality products,

but 64% of clothing salespeople blame this on customers,

either because they bought the wrong size

or because they have a body shape. oversized.

The researchers also found that the attitude of the salesperson

or the waiter was only directly correlated with the product they sold.

In other words, the clothing salesperson blames the mechanic for the car repair fault,

and the auto mechanic blames the garment factory for the unsightly seams.

The primary goal of training employees on how

to handle complaints should include making everyone in the business (including the production department)

understand that customers rarely speak out. everything.

One of China’s strongest brands is home goods manufacturer Haier.

The company almost had to go out of business

when Zhang Ruimin was assigned the responsibility of reviving this state-owned enterprise in 1984.

Zhang’s outstanding quality management ability was due

to the knowledge he had learned and had learned. read.

He believes that customer complaints are great teachers for everyone working in the factory.

Once, a customer brought back a Haier refrigerator,

Zhang was determined to return this person a refrigerator in good working order.

Then he took inventory of his entire inventory of 400 refrigerators

and learned that about 80 of them were inoperable.

Zhang told staff to use a sledgehammer to smash the refrigerators to pieces.

Reluctantly, his staff were able to do this.

“If we don’t destroy these refrigerators today,

we will be crushed by the market in the future,” Zhang told staff.

One of the hammers from each year’s demolition is still on display at Haier’s headquarters to remind people of the quality of the product.

Like the story of Nordstrom’s tire,

this one has also entered the legend of modern business history.

Today, Haier ranks as one of China’s most powerful brands,

with annual sales of $10 billion. In 2006,

Haier was voted as one of the top 500 global enterprises.

Many people believe that Chinese people only choose to buy goods that are not too expensive.

But clearly Haier proved this was not the case in their case.

And it all started with a complaint.


The effect of strong customer relationships,

positive word of mouth on increasing sales

When a customer spends a fortune driving a new car home,

both the buyer and the seller are happy.

But this sales process has not really tested the seller’s enthusiasm.

There must be problems to see the pressure that business people have to bear.

Will the seller still smile when the customer reports problems with the car?

Will the seller still respond with the same enthusiasm as

when the customer first asked about the car’s features?

In the car business, the way customers are treated in every transaction determines

whether the customer will return to buy another vehicle.

Meeting all customer expectations,

whether during the first sale or when complaints or maintenance requests are received,

builds trust between buyers and sellers.

This is especially true for

with relationships between clients and professionals.

If a client is satisfied with the way a doctor,

lawyer, dentist, psychologist, accountant,

or other professional is handled,

then this relationship is certainly built customer loyalty

and entice them to return again and again.

Customers who bring in a product for repair can purchase another product if they are treated well.

Recently, one of the TMI employees complained to the seller about the condition or malfunction of the color laser printer.

She recounted that because she was treated so well,

she decided to buy a second printer here.

She probably would never have done that if the behavior she received from the repair department made her angry.

This next example was sent to us by e-mail.

A lawyer working for a large telecommunications company chooses to buy furniture for the bedroom.

By the time she signed an interest-free purchase agreement with cash payments within 90 days,

she had asked questions that the salesman couldn’t answer.

The manager was called in to help.

The manager didn’t like the tone of the questions

and basically told the lawyer that the contract was like that and if she didn’t like it,

she could buy it elsewhere.

Then the manager said loudly to the salesman that she should have answered the customer the same way.

The lawyer walked out of the store, holding a brochure about the Sleep Country mattress she had really wanted to buy.

She sent an e-mail to the store owner and told her the whole story.

The owner personally wrote

to her the very next day apologizing for the incident and offering

to have a bedroom set delivered

to her home without charge for shipping.

We can probably all agree that such a resolution is correct and satisfactory,

and we wouldn’t rekindle the story without one more detail.

The next day, another person heard about this particular troubleshooting story

and told her mother,

who was out looking for a new mattress,

about Sleep Country.

So the mother, instead of going to another retailer,

decided to buy a mattress from Sleep Country

and have it delivered the next day.

Based on word of mouth,

Sleep Country made a second sale that they should have missed.

Sleep Country’s website says: “Since its founding in 1991,

no company has matched Sleep Country in terms of customer service quality,

superior pricing, and dedication to service.” .

In a study of over 700 incidents occurring in the airline,

hotel, and restaurant industries,

researchers found that among customers with good memories of good services,

there are up to 25% starting from some problem in service delivery.

This lesson is decisive for management work.

Businesses don’t need to run away from service problems,

every company representative has an opportunity to turn a negative situation into a positive experience for the customer.

Make complaints the basis for Total Quality Management.

Former quality consultant, W. Edwards Deming,

describes restoring service as putting out a fire.

“Finding the points that are out of control,

finding the root cause, and eliminating it is how you get the customer service process back in place.”

Thus, restore service is not the same as quality improvement.

The fundamental principle of Total Quality Management (TQM) is continuous improvement.

Continuous improvement means admitting that you can never achieve total quality;

you just get close to it.

It is a process by which a company,

its services, and its products adapt to an ever-changing market.

To discover how processes and products need to change to satisfy customers,

companies need to know all the details.

Complaints can be the main component of that information source.

Feedback from customers will tell employees how to improve services

and expand product distribution channels that they could never have thought of on their own.

Treating complaints as if they were customer feedback,

and customers are seen as a business’ most valuable asset,

helps the company create a customer-focused culture.

This culture, in turn, will be the foundation of effective TQM strategies.

As Phil Crosby, author of Quality Is Free, wrote:

“Satisfy the customer first, last, and always.”

Restore customer service, treat them as god,

and make sure you keep your promise of quality service to them.

Always remember that customer complaints are one of the most valuable sources of information to improve the quality of your products

and services and enhance your position in the marketplace.



Under what circumstances do you find customer complaints unreasonable?

How do you think customers will react when you think their complaint is unreasonable?

How will your company respond to customers who complain of problems that are actually their fault?

List some of the complaints of this type that you often encounter.

To handle complaints in such situations,

what plans do you have for direct customer consultation or service restoration?

Is there a situation in your company where the relationship

with the customer becomes closer after a product/service incident?

How do customer service staff members present a positive image of the company while solving customer problems?

How much does it cost your company to solve customer problems?

How much does keeping past frustrated customers increase sales for your company?

How often do you calculate these expenses and income

and let everyone in the company know?

If your company has installed toll-free phone lines,

have you noticed how satisfied your customers are with the speed

and efficiency of the way you handle calls?

How often do you call your company’s toll-free phone lines to check?

And learn from the service you provide to customers or not?

Do you distinguish any customers who give you valuable

and honest feedback about your products and services?

Do you set up customer feedback channels?

What systems are in place to collect customer complaints that employees can hear?

List the different methods you and your company have adopted

to get customer feedback on the spot?

Are your feedback systems primarily designed

to capture compliments or complaints?

Which employees often spend the most time with customers?

How is the information they collect passed back to the company?


Part 4: Why do most customers want to complain?

“Why don’t you complain?”

Although this question is very simple,

it has many surprising answers.

We once heard 150 different reasons

because only one group of people answered the question why they didn’t complain.

When you hear this question,

people quickly come up with a lot of reasons,

that’s when you start to understand

why so many customers leave without saying a word.

TARP has concluded that the number of complaints is indeed declining,

even as customers face serious problems.

This is the result of a phenomenon the company calls “trained despair.”

John Goodman said:

“The company’s management structure has trained customers

to accept incidents as a business practice, if they foresee an unchanged outlook,

why should they?

What’s the point of complaining?”

Perhaps to emphasize Goodman’s statement,

in the 2007 Customer Experience Impact Report,

RightNow Technologies concluded that good service remains an important distinguishing criterion.

51% of those surveyed answered that outstanding service is what keeps them coming back to the company;

60% say this is the main reason they recommend a company to others.

Right now also realizes that more and more people are saying

they won’t return to a business after experiencing a bad problem:

in 2007 the figure rose to 80%, compared with only 68% in 2006.

Here are some of the many reasons why people don’t want to complain:

I don’t want to ruin the party atmosphere.

I’m not the host,

so I don’t want to make a fuss.

I can be polite at the table,

but I will complain in the washroom.

That’s not worth mentioning.

Anyway, no one listens to me.

It’s not a terrible thing.

After all, compared to people starving all over the world,

my complaint is nothing.

They asked me for a personal identification number (PIN),

and I couldn’t remember which was which.

I have dozens of account numbers.

It’s clear: the person I’m talking to is not competent,

not at all the top level, so he won’t get what I mean.

They’ll probably question me as soon as I complain,

so I need to defend myself.

Complaining sometimes costs me more.

Because their solution was to ask me to call another long distance number.

I don’t believe they will keep my complaint private.

I complained once,

they recorded my call and played it for all the call center staff to hear.

From their body language,

I knew they didn’t want to talk to me.

They always do their job well.

Only in my case, they did not do well.

I feel sorry for that employee.

They told me to write a letter.

Who has time to do that?

The lady who helped me was so beautiful,

I didn’t want to look like a nagging guy in front of her.

This issue concerns many others as well;

The service team leader should have handled it directly!

I complained about a product made for “women”,

while the person who took charge of the problem was a man.

I was too shy to say anything.

I don’t know who to tell!

If I told them, they would treat me rudely.

If I said it, it would be a big deal.

Surely they would treat me like a criminal.

I’ll probably have to wait a long time for an answer.

I have not been approved for that loan;

I have to wait until it is approved.

The customer feedback department is always closed at lunchtime.

Forget it. I sent them an e-mail with no response!

They will tell me I have to bring them the originals of the proof of purchase,

which I don’t know where they are.

I threw away my purchase receipt.

The person I want to complain to may be fired.

I don’t know how to describe this situation. It’s too private.

Who knows?

Chances are they’ll spit on my plate in the kitchen before it’s served.

I am also partly responsible.

Do I have to go up to the third floor

to meet the complaint reception department?

I do not have time!

Just last week I met them to complain;

they’ll think I’m a picky picker or a nag!

I complained last time too,

but nothing happened!

I know this person.

We haven’t seen each other for a long time.

I certainly don’t want to complain to my friend about anything.

I would rather walk away and never come back,

and say nothing. That’s the easiest way to do it.

I guess I’m just making myself more uncomfortable.

Better to forget about it.

My daughter works as a waitress.

I know how hard these people work.

I wouldn’t complain about anyone doing that job.

If I complain to my son’s teacher now,

she will take her anger out on him another time.

If I complain about that person, maybe he will follow me.

You know how crazy people can be these days.

I had all five problems. I certainly won’t complain at all. They will never listen. I will mention only one of them.

Maybe I’ll make my situation worse.

It’s a long list that makes it clear why so many people have complaints but don’t say anything.

How Complaint Handlers Make Customers Don’t Want to Complain.

Here are the attitudes of the feedback department that make customers don’t want

to say their thoughts: empty apologies,

lack of emotion, denial, blaming or promising

but not delivering, no unresponsiveness, rough behavior,

complaints passed on to others,

avoidance of personal responsibility,

nonverbal refusals, repeated questioning of the customer,

or a The disrespectful exchange feels like an interrogation.

Empty apologies: A customer walks into a restaurant

and stands leaning against a freshly painted wall, a streak of paint stuck to his shirt.

He told the service staff there,

but all of them apologized for what had happened without thinking of a way to remedy the situation.

“Sorry.” The customer said:

“They’re just good at saying sorry but they don’t do anything.

Just ‘Sorry’ is not enough.”

The act of refusal: Rejection often begins with an apology.

“Sorry, but there’s nothing I can do.

Next person please!”

If the customer resisted, she would hear:

“Look, I told you there was nothing I could do for you.

Come on, can I help the next customer now?”.

The customer response was:

“They took my money.

It’s something they can do,

but when something goes wrong they don’t help at all.”

Blaming Action:

The customer is blamed for his or her own complaint.

“You made a mistake.”

“You should have told me sooner.”

“You gave the wrong warranty card.”

“Haven’t you signed up for a warranty card?”

The customer’s reaction was:

“Their warranty cards mean nothing”.

Promises not fulfilled:

Feedback department employees promise to fix a problem after a certain period of time,

but in fact they do not fix anything.

This is the exact opposite of what was advertised.

The customer response was:

“Obviously they don’t behave as they say.

I wonder what else they don’t do.”

No response:

This behavior happens more often than you think.

Receptionists do not return calls to answer incoming calls

or respond to complaints that are submitted by mail.

Sometimes customers have to call again and again,

every time they say they will be helped, but nothing happens. Customer Response:

“Forget about this.

People just want my money.

Once they have it, they disappear!”.

Rough manners:

The bare minimum of politeness is gone;

many customers are treated rudely and insulted;

In some cases, they feel like criminals.

The employees were happy:

“No one will dare to complain about that anymore.”

(This doesn’t mean that someone doesn’t feel like complaining;

it just means that no one has complained yet.)

The client promises himself:

“I will never have to deal with these people again in the future,

unless I am dying and need them.”

The complaint was passed on to many others:

“I can’t help you.

You have to go upstairs [present the problem to another person,

write down your questions and send them to another department].”

Or, “We’re just a distributor;

you will have to contact the manufacturer.”

Customers will whine:

“Why are they making it so difficult?

Don’t they want me to be their customer?”

Attitude to avoid personal responsibility:

“I didn’t do this! It’s not my fault!”

“I’d love to help you, but I’m not in charge of handling this.”

“I just work here; I did not make these rules.”

“I did not serve you before;

but my colleague.”

“This is the fault of our suppliers

[forwarding services, mailing services, stupid company policies, my weird manager…],

so what do you want now?

The goods are already sold.” Customer Review:

“These are professionals who blame others.

No one wanted to take the responsibility,

so they sent a junior employee to work with me. These people can’t do even the simplest things!”

Nonverbal Rejection:

Sometimes the complainant frowns, pretending to be impatient to tell the customer that the customer is wasting their time.

These employees are acting like they have more important things to do than listen to customers with useless complaints.

These were not put into words,

but the general atmosphere said it all. The customer concludes:

“They say they want to hear my feedback, but the things they do make me uncomfortable.”

Customer Interview:

Before being helped,

the customer is asked a series of questions.

“What’s your name?


When did you buy this item?

Who helped him? Who told you that?

Did you pay in cash? Where’s your bill?

Do you have a customer registration number?

What was your mother’s maiden name?”

Maybe the company really needs this information,

but we shouldn’t start a service recovery process like that, because customers will think,

“They’re trying to hold me hostage when I just want to. get my money back.”

The client interview usually leads to an interrogation of the client.

Interrogation of the Client:

The client is subject to suspicion of his motives, abilities,

or right to complain. “

How do I know you are telling the truth?

Are you sure you bought something here?

Did you follow the instructions correctly?

Have you read the small print document on page 30,

which lists all the exceptions?

Did you read anything in the manual?

Are you sure you didn’t drop it?”

The “interrogation” usually ends with the sentence:

“Anyone can make such a claim.

You won’t believe it,

so many people have told us all kinds of stories like this.”

This customer says: censored(7).

When customers complain, if they are treated badly,

the service problems they have experienced are magnified.

Customers are not stupid.

They sensed the impoliteness in the staff standing at the front desk.

They also pick up on even the tiniest cues that tell them not to complain.

Sometimes they grasp these implications right away.

Because of being too sensitive, the customer will become impatient,

and even a small problem can turn into a big problem.

And if you’ve faced all sorts of attitudes that deliberately discourage customers,

and they still complain, they will most likely cause serious problems for your company.

The type of management structure that makes customers not want to complain the management structure of many companies makes customers not know

where and how to complain, since then they do not want to complain anymore.

Try visiting a few Web sites to see how many companies display their contact phone numbers

in a location where you won’t have to spend time searching.

Charles Underhill, President of Better Business Bureaus,

Inc., told a conference in The Hague that before attending the meeting,

he visited 20 major Web sites and was surprised to find none.

Which of these pages uses the words “customer complaints” or “problems of use”.

Underhill argues that this responsibility lies with the marketing department

because they accept no other truth than that the customer is completely satisfied with them.

Zappos.com places a great deal of importance on placing a toll-free number -800- on every page of their Web.

This may be the only online retailer that does this,

and if they’re not, they’re clearly one of the very few that do.

Complaining can get customers in trouble.

Customers who openly comment often feel left out of the game.

Many people feel unfairly treated and shun the company.

Consider the following example,

a typical example of people who “try” to complain about a business

and end up saying everything story for a lot of people because of the way people have treated you.

Mitchell Gooze is a professional broadcaster (this detail is important later in the story).

Gooze bought a set of LG VCR/DVD player/receiver.

LG is a trademark of a Korean manufacturer,

once known by the Lucky Goldstar brand.

LG advertises its electronic and communication devices as the best quality.

The DVD player that Gooze bought worked great for the first nine months,

then stopped working. About a month later,

Gooze had to search around to call the number -800- on the company’s Web site.

(Janelle herself tried to find out where the phone number was,

and after about 30 clicks still couldn’t find it,

probably because she wasn’t patient enough like Gooze.)

Gooze was happy to receive feedback from the company,

except that he had to wait a while.

The machine is still under warranty and Gooze can send it to them,

but they need three to five weeks to fix it.

About a month later, LG called him and said they couldn’t fix the locomotive

because he hadn’t transferred the $69 service registration fee to them.

Gooze had never heard anyone tell him about this.

He reads his credit card number to LG and expects his locomotive to be repaired while they still have it.

About a week later, he got the locomotive back and it was still broken.

He phoned LG again and was told that his credit card was not accepted.

He asked how he didn’t know about this since he was told everything was fine.

The agent told him he should have checked his credit card bill and suggested he return the locomotive to them with $199 (more than the cost of the locomotive)

because it was no longer available warranty period, at that time more than one year.

Gooze objected to this absurd argument because he sent it out while under warranty.

I see this case is going nowhere.

But Gooze doesn’t give up easily.

He asked to speak to the manager but they said LG has no manager in the US and no matter what he told anyone he would get the same answer.

Gooze, originally a pleasant and cheerful person,

said that in that moment, he suddenly became fierce like a “killer”.

In the US, there is no way to contact LG other than by calling this number -800-.

Thus, through that kind of customer care system,

LG has effectively separated themselves from the problems that are happening to their customers.

Gooze then described the key details of this story in a talk on his key radio show

and posted the whole story on his e-newsletters.

In addition, LG also received other consequences.

The sad thing is, it wasn’t until someone in Korea read this book or heard one of Gooze’s talks that they knew about the story.

Of course Gooze bought a new DVD player,

and not an LG product.

His son just got married and he gave him a bunch of new non-LG appliances worth about $5,000.

Just because of the $130 regret,

LG lost thousands of dollars in revenue from this customer,

Gooze says he will never buy LG products again.

“You only love a brand when people act like a human being and you hate it when they can’t,”

he said whenever you haven’t done your job well,

there is bound to be at least one complaint.

And as soon as customers are betrayed on warranty promises,

more unfavorable messages emerge.

Here are a few other ways to imply that customers are better off not complaining.

People don’t know where and how to complain many retail stores do not have clear signage

for customers to know where Customer Service is located.

Sometimes service representatives aren’t available to listen to what customers have to respond to.

Many customers with feedback that need to be provided to managers are told to go to Customer Service,

which is solely responsible for product exchanges,

not listening or recording complaints for resolution manage or transfer them to the board of directors.

It is possible that the customer will eventually find a phone number,

but unfortunately,

that number has nothing to do with handling customer complaints or they will be able to contact the operator,

but this person also doesn’t know where to direct the complaint.

This operator can connect customers to anyone who will then transfer them to another person

, and this person also doesn’t know where to direct the complaint.

The customer eventually got frustrated

and asked to speak to the head of the company,

who obviously didn’t need to be able to resolve their initial complaint.

You can do an experiment yourself.

When you’re shopping, go to a big store and ask where you can complain.

Ask around and notice how many people who work in the store know where to take you.

See how many people try to solve your problem as quickly as possible.

Or call companies in your area and tell the person

who answers the phone that you want to complain about one of their products and ask who you should tell.

Or call a large company, perhaps a Fortune-100 company in the United States,

and ask who you should contact by phone for an address to mail complaints for company.

In our experience, unless you are very lucky,

you will not get prompt and satisfactory answers.

Then do a similar test with your own company.


Complaints often come with trouble

Customers are often asked to discuss their problems with someone who can handle their complaints within certain hours.

But these times fall within the customer’s business hours.

Customers may be asked to fill out very confusing forms

or forms that don’t have space for specific problems or complaints.

On the web, a series of menus of options can force customers

to click buttons that don’t describe their situation, and don’t offer an “other” option.

Some companies take more risk because they give the impression that complaints are the cause of so much trouble.

For example, many high-tech companies outsource customer service

and customers don’t know that they are talking to a company that is not the one that makes the product.

For example, a customer can call a software company’s support phone line to report a product defect,

and unfortunately that is also the end of the 30-day free support period.

But what if the customer doesn’t need support right now and just wants to report a bug in the software?

They will be told that they are contacting the product service support person,

not the manufacturer. To report a software bug,

they must contact the software company directly.

However, the software company did not know how to direct this customer to call to complain.

(Can this happen? Yes, it did to one of the two authors of this book.)

So, what is the motivation for customers to respond to this software company?

Therefore, companies that contract customer service with subcontractors must carefully coordinate their complaints handling policies

so that they are consistently and consistently followed by subcontractors. customary.

The company does not fulfill its responsibilities.

Sometimes the complaint handling mechanism is set up very well,

but when a complaint comes up, no one comes forward to handle it.

Customers are frustrated because they have not received a response

and may not want to complain anymore in the future.

There are many reasons why customers do not receive a response from the company.

Sometimes employees who are in direct contact with customers receive customer complaints

but then don’t deliver this content to where it needs to be,

they don’t even think it’s part of their job.

In fact, many employees in the department who should be answering customer questions tell customers to contact Customer Service directly.

Culture experts have found that in the same way that customers don’t want to complain,

employees don’t like to pass complaints up.

They seem to think that by passing on such bad news they are criticizing the company’s policymakers.

So they take complaints lightly, blame the customer,

or simply don’t pass the information on at all.

In fact, Professor Alan Andreasen of Georgetown University has written

that just as front-line employees don’t want to pass on complaints,

managers don’t like hearing about customer dissatisfaction.

Perhaps this manager will frown or get angry when he hears a complaint.

How many employees want to deal with something like that?

Only when such attitudes about complaints are changed across the business can you expect

to convey to customers the message that the company listens to them all the time.

In a large-scale survey, service workers were asked how much encouragement they received

from their managers to report customer feedback and complaints.

One-third of them think their management actually encourages it,

17% say they receive no encouragement at all and 23% say they receive little encouragement.

When we asked managers directly if they wanted to hear from customers,

they all said that they always encourage their employees to report customer feedback.

It seems that the information we receive is not consistent.

Surveys of employees working in the customer relations department show

that the more complaints this department receives regarding the way they communicate with customers,

the more isolated they are from other departments. in company.

So the customer relations department became the custodian of nasty secrets about customer dissatisfaction.

This vicious cycle shows that the more complaints a company receives,

the less likely they are to want to hear them.

That shows why companies often lack enthusiasm in handling complaints.


Warranty: Annoying or motivating factor for customers to complain?

Warranties can be the root cause of all complaints by making so many requests

that every customer chooses to give up before filling out the required information.

Customers are also required to submit the registration form immediately after purchase.

Many companies even claim the original packaging when the buyer returns the item.

In most cases, a purchase receipt is required (in addition to the credit card receipt).

Or, the customer is forced to send the product to a remote location when only a small part of the product is in need of warranty.

The warranty is only applicable when certain conditions are met.

Sometimes the repair time is so long that the customer abandons the item altogether

and agrees to buy another rather than wait.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that customers perceive multiple warranties as marketing ploys,

and they could be.

Warranty cards make customers feel as if they are protected,

but in reality, those warranties are usually not used unless the product is an expensive item.

Yet, in one study, 91% of the customers interviewed said that asking for a warranty card

to be returned has a great influence on where they will decide to buy a product.

Perhaps most customers don’t think they’ll get any benefits from warranties,

but it’s this promise that makes them feel more secure with their purchase.

Musician Jon Schwartz, also known as Vinny Verelli,

has a fond memory of the Iomega label. Years ago,

in order to back up a considerable amount of his music files,

he chose to buy an external hard drive (the easily removable type).

But to do this, he had to change a lot of drives,

all done entirely according to the very detailed warranty instructions.

Thus, this warranty is only effective when customers have to buy replacement devices.

Unfortunately, the expense of buying those replacements renders the warranty useless.

First, Schwartz spent hours phoning engineering.

The technicians instructed him to do all the proper checks and said, ‘

The drive has failed.

Send it to us.’

He knew this well enough because he was too experienced in the Iomega’s ‘failed drive’ situation.

He even bought a second drive in case the previous one failed so he wanted to make a backup for this poor quality drive.

The new drive soon failed,

and he switched to his backup drive,

which eventually failed.

This story has continued for 5 years;

Schwartz couldn’t switch to another brand because he stored his music files on Iomega’s storage discs, so only Iomega’s drives could read them.

When CDs became popular and Schwartz was able to save room with his music files on it,

he vowed never to buy an Iomega product again.

And he did exactly that. Never!

The dedicated customer care staff

and the warranty regimes are not enough to maintain customer loyalty.

The product itself must also ensure the quality.

Even swapping one product for another but causing trouble won’t satisfy the customer.

According to Deakin University researchers,

focusing on the service recovery process by itself is not enough.

“Completely relying on warranty claims to win back customers can be the very thing that doesn’t satisfy customers.”

Surely Jon Schwartz would very much agree with this idea.

Here is a typical example of a warranty in practice.


Policy to create satisfaction for customers

We are committed to total customer satisfaction.

Within 30 days of purchase,

the customer may request a full refund of the product value provided that the unopened product is returned

to the company along with the original sales documents.

The customer cannot return an opened product unless the product is defective,

except in very special cases;

Please inquire with our representative.

Before returning a product,

please phone our customer service department

to obtain a Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) number and for further instructions.

Can such a policy bring about the complete customer satisfaction promised in the opening sentence?

How many people buy a product but don’t open it only to find out it’s not what they need?

And, why would a customer want to return a product if it’s not defective?

You might say,

“If a software company gets back open software that is still in good operating condition,

won’t they go out of business?

What if computer users have installed hardware in their computers?

In fact, most software companies can determine when a product has been installed if those computers are online,

which is nearly always the case.

Companies can simply spread their unusable software all over the Internet.

We have told all the companies that offer the following warranties:

“A full satisfaction guarantee is good.

But you also have to be prepared for some very odd complaints.”

Promising complete satisfaction is generally the wrong way to go,

as it makes shoppers who already have an aversion to it even more skeptical.

Personal preference makes complete gratification very difficult to achieve.

For example, how can you guarantee complete satisfaction with the temperature of a hotel swimming pool?

These pools will easily become too hot or too cold for different people.

A famous German design company has guaranteed that they will repair all writing instruments free of charge – forever.

This sounds great until you learn that there is an automatic service fee of $20 per repair,

and your pencil or ink pen must be transported by an insured vehicle,

in addition to a 20% surcharge of total freight.

This “free service warranty” amount is up to 15% of the value of the pen.

When you are planning to buy a pen,

they proudly offer a warranty,

but nothing to do with the cost of carrying out the warranty afterwards.


Effective warranties

What is an effective warranty?

Above all, it should assure customers that if they are not satisfied,

the company will assist them immediately.

From a marketing standpoint,

a warranty is a statement to the consumer that the company believes in the quality of its products and guarantees that quality.

Then all confusion among consumers will disappear.

Even for companies that are known for having the best quality products,

consumers still prefer product warranties.

Customers always want to have everything clearly explained.

Offering an explicit warranty won’t necessarily keep your shop crowded with customers bringing in products

for repair if you already have a sizable reputation.

But, even if your product is of good quality and consumers know this well,

offering a specific warranty still helps you communicate with customers better.

An effective warranty does not mean that customers will always get a 100% new product

or a money back whenever they say they are not satisfied.

But it does mean they have to feel that the company always helps them achieve satisfaction through a well-appointed hotel room,

a well-functioning computer, or a delicious hot hamburger.

Jochen Wirtz at the National University of Singapore did an experiment involving a supposed best warranty.

It is a warranty that fully describes the properties and is “unlimited”.

Or, a warranty that is not unconditional,

but specific, simple, and clear.

And, a warranty is like telling a customer:

“Give us a chance.

If we do not satisfy you,

we will compensate you by refunding or replacing

or repairing this product.

We will never abandon you.”

He concluded: the warranty that gives customers complete satisfaction is a warranty based on product attributes.

The primary reason for this is that, as Wirtz reports,

consumers are uncertain about what is included in a full satisfaction warranty,

and this results in a “deduction of expected value”.

This is an important point,

and we are pleased to include it in this book

because many warranty builders reluctantly fear fraudulent customers.

Regulators need to further understand that warranties for specific attributes are,

in fact, just as effective as tick-in-the-blank warranties,

a kind of warranty that, frankly, scares most managers.

This also means that businesses should conduct research to find out which attributes customers want covered by the warranty.

This opinion is very valuable.

Here’s the bottom line: they’re probably what customers complain about most of the time.

Family Fare is committed to ensuring a clean washroom.

Otherwise, their customers get a free cup of coffee.

Family Fare doesn’t have to spend a lot of coffee,

and the company actually doesn’t care having to offer coffee.

This warranty has affected employee behavior so much that even team leaders are willing to mop the toilet floors if they become soiled.

Some products may require limited warranty coverage.

However, when those limits are put in place,

companies must be careful when using the phrase total satisfaction.

Car companies, for example, cannot exchange a used car for a 100% new one at any time on any customer request.

But a chain of fast food restaurants that sell meatloaf can easily exchange a meatloaf that customers aren’t happy with.

Carl Sewell, a car salesman and author of the best-selling book Customers for Life,

offers a limited but still very good customer satisfaction warranty.

Sewell Village Cadillac has relationships with customers whose families have purchased dozens of vehicles from this car dealership,

and the store does not want to turn away (to a limited extent) such customers. .

Sewell said that if a customer buys a car from Sewell Village Cadillac,

runs straight home to show it to his spouse,

and he or she hates the paint,

he will gladly take the car back without ask any question.

But if a person buys a car,

drives it around for 10 days,

and finds out that he can get it cheaper at another car dealership,

Sewell won’t take the car back.

Sales is business, and our goal of complete customer satisfaction does not include refunds in such cases, says Sewell.

Easy product return has contributed to the well-deserved customer-voted championship of Nordstrom,

a sophisticated retailer that even calls itself Nordies.

Nordstrom customers spend more,

pay higher prices, and refer their acquaintances to shop there.

In the early 1990s, based on sales per square foot,

Nordstrom outperformed any retail store in the United States.

As Nordstrom began expanding the chain beyond the Seattle area,

a vision of the demise of large, luxury malls was foreseen. Almost immediately,

Nordstrom rose to the top with huge profits and incredible customer loyalty.

If you give your customers what they want and handle all of their complaints well,

you’re likely to succeed in almost any market.

Many hotels have begun to jump on the warranty trend.

As a result, these hotels are implementing impressive advertising strategies.

Eric Pfeffer, President of Howard Johnson Franchise Systems,

used statistics to support his hotel warranties.

He says that a guest who is satisfied with how a complaint is handled is 92% more likely to return to that hotel.

And a guest with an unresolved issue is less than 50% likely to return to the reservation.

Empowering employees is the key to keeping the warranty system running well.

Employees who deal directly with customers must know the company’s warranties well, feel comfortable when customers complain,

and understand that making customers happy is important. their best.

McDonald’s has organized courses video training shows examples in which people pose as customers

and employees to show managers and counter staff how to perform McDonald’s warranties.

The Elements of a Perfect Warranty Policy Christopher Hart,

who coined the term “dynamic warranty”(10),

asserts that every company with a superior warranty is moving faster than the competition,

and ultimately improve their financial performance.

In its most effective form, this warranty promises outstanding service quality and maximum customer satisfaction.

This warranty guarantees to fulfill all of the company’s promises and is ready to refund customers with a few simple constraints,

while helping to restore customer trust in a spectacular way.

The purpose of the superior warranty is not only to ensure that the customer’s spending through your company will be safe,

but also to help you detect what customers are not satisfied with to find solutions.

Obviously that’s not a strategy that works for every company,

but for those committed to following the trend, the results are very different.

Hart contacted the Northeast Delta Dental Department.

Thanks to their superior warranties, their market share has grown from 25% in 1995 to 80% in 2006,

even though their prices are consistently 20% higher than the industry average.

Tom Jones, CEO of Epsilon,

a company specializing in customer database marketing,

once wrote a check for $210,000,

which was the full amount the customer paid for them.

The company has built in a guarantee that guarantees unconditional customer satisfaction or a 100% money-back guarantee.

Jones says paying customers back will put pressure on his staff;

All of this is not simply a marketing ploy.

He wanted his entire staff to think about what they needed to do to be able to assure customers of such a level of service.

Jones said: “People call me crazy, but I find it amusing myself.

There are only a few rare opportunities for a CEO to make a big change through a small action, and this is one of them.”

Jones emphasizes that even customers don’t want their money back.

You can imagine how this information spread throughout Epsilon.

“That $210,000 was my best investment,” says Jones.

Jones is hitting a point that others have done:

a warranty commitment also acts as an internal change agent.

It keeps your employees focused on meeting the terms of your warranty

and helps define the terms of employee empowerment ​​namely,

doing what is necessary to meet the requirements warranty terms.

Christopher Hart has described a superior warranty as a marketing strategy of a reputable business in the market.

According to him, this warranty has three parts:

Promise: a clear “unlimited” commitment,

where there is no word to shirk responsibility.

Refunds: a surprising but clear statement of what the customer will get.

Refund process: a clear statement of the no-hassle warranty process for customers to get their money back easily in the event of a problem.

According to Hart, the process also needs to be proactive (“We noticed a mistake, even if you didn’t see it”) and empathetic (“We sincerely apologize and don’t want this to happen.” Again”).

When a customer asks your company for a warranty,

take this opportunity to restore their trust rather than scrutinize the terms of the warranty.

Once Janelle offered to get a refund for a “no questions asked” warranty (11) then the money was transferred to Janelle’s account without question,

without a word. no feedback from the supplier,

and no attempt was made to entice her to purchase again in the future.

What a waste of an opportunity!

At the very least, the rep can say,

“We know that our warranty isn’t to ask questions,

so we respect that you didn’t tell us why.

Why is she not satisfied?

But really, that reason helps us a lot.

Your feedback will help us better serve other customers.”

How such a word would win Janelle’s trust back.

Finally, one thing to be cautious about in terms of warranties

and customer complaint handling.

Domino’s is a well-known pizza maker who once made sure that if a call to order pizza didn’t come within 30 minutes

, the pizza would be served to them free of charge.

Perhaps many readers think that Domino’s will have trouble making this commitment because the company can’t keep its promise in case its delivery staff gets into an accident because of a race at speed.

Domino’s also found that many pizza orderers feel guilty about benefiting from a few minutes late delivery by Domino’s employees.

So Domino’s has slowed their riders down (currently the time guarantee is around 30 minutes) and insists on a Comprehensive Warranty:

“If for any reason If you are not satisfied with our pizza,

we will give you another pizza or give you a refund.”

Domino’s sales have always occupied the highest position

and they are still receiving customer feedback about their cake delivery service.

Today, Domino’s is considered a very strong brand

and is present in more than 55 countries around the world.

They are the largest pizza restaurant chain in the world with more than 145,000 employees,

delivering more than 1.3 million pizzas per day and generating about $1.4 billion a year.


How before fraudsters to get warranty?

However, Hart is careful to note that you can’t come up with a standard of “extreme customer satisfaction

or 100% money back” without implementing the necessary processes internally within your business.

He points out that most superior warranties are strongly opposed by the financial and legal departments within the company.

These departments always want to add more constraints in the warranty and in the end these warranties are no longer superior.

The experience we have gained from working with companies is that not all members of the legal department interfere with warranties.

In fact, only managers who are not brave enough are afraid of fraudulent customers who are waiting to make money from warranties.

After all, we fully understand that people can pose as customers to steal goods, as evidenced by countless cases of

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