The digital revolution has transformed the importance of customer service. Everybody is a publisher now, which means ‘word of mouth’ can spread faster and further than ever before. Nowhere is good customer service more crucial than in your complaints procedure. Here are some tips to help you promote yourself through happy customers.
You should make it as easy as possible for people to contact you and provide feedback. Your website should have your contact details prominently displayed so people can send email to a monitored inbox, but more importantly show your phone number. Unfortunately many more people will want to complain than praise you, and they will want to speak to someone directly and immediately.
The Complaints Iceberg
For every person who complains to you, roughly 25 will not bother.Instead they will tell their friends, who will in turn tell their friends. 80% of people will tell other people about their bad experience and on average they will tell ten people each. Those people will in turn tell another five each which means that for every complaint that you receive it is likely there will be a pyramid of reputation damage. Over a thousand people will hear directly about at least one of those unhappy customer experiences. If some of them have large numbers of twitter followers or a wide social network then every story of bad service reported to you can mean tens of thousands of people hearing about it.
Because everybody’s voice is amplified now, it has become crucial to satisfy the people you do get a chance to communicate with.
Imagine if those tens of thousands of people were hearing about how great you were instead. The way to spread the word about your organisation is to earn attention by being remarkable. Take a look at Seth Godin’s blog for examples on how to distinguish yourself from your competitors. To exceed customer expectations you will need to identify the likely cause of their dissatisfaction and pre-emptively address it so they never become unhappy, then do something unexpected to push them into delight.
People with complaints can be further wound up by the speed and tone of responses your organisation provides, having to explain their problem repeatedly, or a lack of information about how their complaint is progressing. On average only one third of customers see their complaints resolved in the first instance. If you provide your staff with the information they need and if you follow up with text or email messages you should be able to do much better.