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Encourage Your Customers to Complain - 2010-02-16

Complaining clients are actually the most loyal, according to a TARP Worldwide study.

By Geoffrey Oldmixon

Not every loudmouth should be silenced. That's the message TARP Worldwide provided us recently. TARP Worldwide is a research group focusing on complaining customers.

TARP told us that complaining customers, rather than being an organization's biggest liability, are among the organization's most loyal customers. Customers who complain about their dissatisfactions are more likely to repurchase, even if their complaint is not handled satisfactorily. Customers who do not complain--the ones many organizations consider happy--are the least loyal customers.

The organization found that if the problem is resolved successfully, customers will tell five others, whereas if customers receive good service initially they will only tell three others.

For that reason, tracking complaint is very important.

"When it comes to customer feedback, you have to use it or it will use you," says Bruce Cameron, CDC Software president of sales and marketing.

The TARP Feedback Success Formula is:

1. Encourage your customers to complain and make suggestions on how to avoid a similar problem in the future.

2. Fix their problems, find ways to resolve to avoid future issues

3. Repeat

Cameron recommends a multichannel customer feedback strategy. "That doesn't simply mean customers can interact with you in lots of new ways," he says. "Pinpointing persistent customer feedback patterns across channels, drilling down to root causes, and effecting change organization-wide is the real secret sauce for the multichannel organization."

Indeed, there are complaint and feedback management solutions worth considering that can make it possible to aggregate and analyze a vast array of customer feedback, pulling data from multiple channels. In this aggregation process, customers are appropriately engaged across channels, and the company gathers the information it needs to drive process and business improvements.

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