When it comes to customer loyalty, complaints and dissatisfaction are often seen as problems. But they offer great opportunities, according to research conducted by the Customer Contact Council, a division of the Corporate Executive Board. The study of more than 75,000 people revealed that reducing customers’ effort—the work they must do to get their problem solved—builds loyalty, and acting deliberately on complaints can help improve customer service, reduce customer service costs and decrease customer churn.
To maximize your business success, and to keep your customers as loyal as possible, you need to ensure that you are able to address more and more complaints, suggests Don Peppers, speaker, consultant and co-author of Extreme Trust. The more complaints you discover, the more opportunities you have to build your business.
First, make it easy to complain. Be sure to publicize a toll-free number, an address and an email address for complaints, in addition to making it a simple option on your website. Give customers multiple avenues for voicing any problems. Monitor these channels 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Outsource this function if you have to. Monitor social media traffic for any mention of your brand, your product or your business, and reach out immediately to complainers. Twitter has become the complaining channel of choice for many today, so don’t let those complaints go untended. Better to respond in minutes, rather than in hours, and letting a day or more go by is unacceptable.
Always get back to a complaining customer with a direct phone or email contact, rather than simply asking him to contact you with more detail, and then do get back to him, promptly. In addition, be sure to ask permission to contact a customer a few days after any unusual or stressful transaction. Do not try to sell anything with this outreach, whether it is by email or phone. Just verify whether everything went okay, and ask how your company might have done anything better.
By taking these few steps to address dissatisfied customers‘ concerns, you can turn disloyal, vocal, complainers into loyal shoppers.