Every contact center needs a complaint management strategy. The truth is that you have fewer satisfied clients than you may think. Many of those customers are keeping quiet despite having something to say, which is troublesome for everyone. If you don’t hear the complaint, there’s no way you can fix it; if customers aren’t satisfied, they’ll take their business elsewhere.
According to Entrepreneur, there’s a simple reason why many customers don’t complain: griping is hard on everyone, including the complainer. For example, at a restaurant, it’s common to tell the server, “Everything’s fine!” when you’re actually unhappy with the meal. A frequent “solution” is to suffer through the experience and never return to the restaurant. Starting over with a new vendor is easier than the conflict of asking the current vendor to fix the problem.
Sometimes, a customer will assume that the company already knows about their business’ shortcomings and that another complaint will just be repetitive. These customers often think that the company knows about the problem and is simply choosing to not take action. Other times, a customer is too busy to complain. Eventually, the easiest and fastest way out of the current problem is to go to a new vendor.
Squeaky wheels may be demanding, but the non-squeaky wheels are worrisome. Don’t assume that everything’s okay because customers are keeping quiet; staying quiet does not equal being satisfied. The non-complaining customer can be as equally dissatisfied as the complaining customer. According to Jeanna Rinaldo, VP of Relationship Management at Integrated Loan Services, the quiet customers are the ones who leave.
Not only does this make it difficult to retain customers, but it can lead to a larger-than-necessary problem. When customers stay with the same company for a while, letting problems build up, there’s often a moment of venting, which is released on any number of people: the customer service representative, a competing vendor, current customers, potential clients…
Customers should be encouraged to speak up. According to Kana, a Verint company, handling a complaint productively can result in customer loyalty. Customers whose complaints are resolved are more likely to stick with the vendor than customers who didn’t have a complaint to begin with. If you want your customers to tell you what’s wrong, you need to make it easy for them to provide that feedback.
1. Make it simple for the customer to get in touch. Wherever the customer is – on your mobile app, website, or social media – they should be able to voice their complaint without going through an additional channel. When a customer can’t easily find your contact information, you’ve added another complaint to their pile.
2. Don’t make customers come to you. Reach out and ask them for feedback, both positive and negative. Take advantage of the opportunity to question them about their experience when they’re on the phone and regularly send e-mails that encourage them to voice their concerns.
3. Tell your customers that they’re thought of as business partners, not just paying customers. Explain that together you can both work to make the customer-vendor relationship better. Make it clear that they have a say and that their opinion is respected.
At the end of the conversation, thank the customer for providing feedback. Tell them that their comments help the company improve the way they do things. This will encourage them to voice their opinions in the future.