Why Complainers Can Be Your Best Customers

The world of website management has its own vocabulary and a unique way of seeing the world. Many of the technical details are relevant only to the engineers who build servers and write software. But there is one notion from web-analytics jargon that has key relevance to the field of customer relations: bounce rate.

On the web, your bounce rate is the number of people who visit your website, view a single page and click away. They found what they wanted on your page and went on with their lives or they didn't find it and they continued their search elsewhere. In either case, they are lost to you forever. You don't know their names or email addresses, you can't query them about their satisfaction, you can't transform their interest into future sales. They're gone.

It happens in the offline world too. A customer buys your product or uses your service. Maybe the customer is satisfied, and maybe the customer had a bad experience. You don't know. You generally don't have an opportunity to query customers about how your product or service could be improved.

That's especially serious when it comes to unsatisfied customers. You can't be sure how many customers do business with you, find the transaction unsatisfying, and direct their future business to your competitors forever. You might have done something differently to achieve a better outcome, but customers are anonymous. Unhappy customers and the future revenue streams they represent simply vanish.

That's why more and more companies are focusing on the complaints they receive from customers.

Complaints are precious. They give you insight into how you can make your products and services, your entire customer experience, more desirable. They help you pinpoint the ways in which you are failing and the steps you can take to improve.

You get that feedback for free, too. A high street consulting firm could give you the same data, but you'd pay tens of thousands of pounds for it. Every customer complaint is a data point for improving your company, and complainers provide them for free. Every day, your call centre interacts with a small army of volunteer consultants offering insights on how to make your products and services more compelling.

Smart companies make sure that feedback gets to the managers and staff members who are responsible for products and services.

And there's more.

Every unhappy customer who complains is a proxy for dozens, hundreds, even thousands of other customers who had the same unhappy experience but couldn't be troubled to interact with your complaint department. They just contributed to your bounce rate, silently taking their future business elsewhere.

The unsatisfied customers who take the time and trouble to complain are people who care most about the products and services you sell. They're engaged. They’re committed.

When your agents settle complaints they are not merely erasing the negative value of a single unhappy customer. They have an opportunity to transform the complainer into a supporter, an energised, committed customer who cares about your products and services.

Engaged customers are influential. They tell friends and colleagues about their experiences with your company. They post accounts of their interactions online. They are the most credible marketing agents your company will ever find.

The world is full of prospects. Most, for one reason or another, will never do business with your firm. Some become customers, taking a chance on products or services they haven't tried before. Some of those become repeat customers. And a smaller number still really care about the kinds of products and services you sell. These are the most valuable customers, the engaged users who inform and influence countless prospects about the benefits of doing business with you.

Those are your best customers, the ones you really want.



Do you have a complaint handling success story that you could receive external recognition for? Celebrate your complaint handling heroes and set yourself apart from the competition by entering the UK Complaint Handling awards 2019. Now open for entries. Click here to see the categories and enter online now.