Here’s why you want to hear customer complaints

26 minutes

•  They are a gift that helps solidify your customer base – if you handle them correctly

•  “People remember these things literally for decades”

(Total Recorded Time is 26:00)

Christmastime.  From a monetary point of view, this is the time when retailers often see their financials move solidly into the black.  And it’s a time of jolly shopping trips for consumers.

Not.  Consumers are often cranky and when they finally get to talk to someone in customer service, it’s an adventure in English as a never-learned language, helping to ramp up anger.

What an opportunity! says Janelle Barlow, a consultant and author who translates research into practical tools to improve customer service and complaint handling.

Complaints as an opportunity?  In this edition of Bizgnus Interviews, Ms. Barlow explains.

Please click here to watch the interview:

Ms. Barlow notes that according to the 2020 “National Customer Rage Study,” that when 58 percent of customers got no or limited satisfaction from their efforts, while 65 percent left filled with rage and frustration.

Companies should consider any complaint as a gift, since so few customers actually do complain to the company, Ms. Barlow says, adding that unhappy customers are more likely to tell anyone else who will listen rather than make the effort to complain to the people who can remedy the problem.

Poor handling of a customer’s complaint can linger with that now-former customer for a remarkably long time, she says.

“People remember these things literally for decades,” she says. “When I ask them when did this happen, they say, mmm, 30 years ago.”

Complaints that are handled well transform into experiences more positively remembered than if no complaint had been made, Ms. Barlow says.

This means that too many businesses are scripting, out-sourcing, or seriously mishandling their customer service, she says and in the process are missing a key point that customer complaints are a gift to companies that, when handled well, will reap huge rewards.

Ms. Barlow has recently released the third edition of her bestseller (more than 275,000 copies sold to date) of “A Complaint Is a Gift: How to Learn from Critical Feedback and Recover Customer Loyalty,” (BK Publishing, November 2022).

For more information:

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