Customer Complaints Go Viral-and You Love It - Customer Relationship Management

Human beings as a species have a dirty little secret. We love to complain. You know that’s true. How many times have you ignored a complaint someone shared with you about bad service they got somewhere? “Never” would be the right answer here. In fact,you eagerly scarfed up the venom and then what did you do? You used that as a jumping-off point to hurl poison at some other company who offended you with their level of service. Didn’t you?

Want some scientific proof so you can have some numbers to prove what you already know? The United Kingdom,which regularly studies the culture and behaviors associated with complaints,is happy to provide you with that data. RightNow commissioned a study of 2,800 British consumers back in 2007 that was done by YouGov. The study found that 69 percent of the respondents had actively registered a complaint with a company,and 79 percent of those complained about their treatment between one and five times over a 12-month period.

One of the more interesting results of this particular survey was the snapshot of customer expectations. Sixty percent of Britons surveyed expected that the problem would be fixed to their satisfaction. Twentyseven percent said the problem was actually fixed to their satisfaction. Thirty-four percent said the company took absolutely no action after the complaint had been made. You might think that the most interesting part of these results is the gap between expectations and results. Granted,that’s interesting. But one thing that might escape you— thank goodness you have me to tell you this—is that only 60 percent even expected the problem to be resolved. That means that fully two fifths of the population didn’t expect the problem to get solved to their satisfaction to begin with. Whoa!

That points to what I’m going to repeat. The measure of a successful customer service strategy is the institutionalization of best practices that actually work,technologies that have value,and,most importantly,a service culture that is defined by well-trained,empowered customer service representatives (CSRs) who can be replaced with other well-trained,empowered CSRs when some leave—no individual disrespect intended.

There are problems to overcome,but there are also models to adopt,both enhanced traditional models and newer models geared toward Social CRM.

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