There is a breed of customers who should be encouraged and nurtured: complainers, according to international customer service strategist John Tschohl. These are the customers who go out of their way to make sure things are done properly; the ones who make sure the customer behind them in line does not have to experience bad service; the ones who take a few minutes to show corporations what they need to do - or do better - to earn their business.
The average person today can take a problem viral in hours. Now, thousands hear about problems within 24 hours. The average person has 130+ friends on Facebook and has numerous connections on Linkedin, Twitter, etc. They've got venting down pat but that does nothing to solve the problem.
"In my book, 'The Customer is Boss', I show you how to complain correctly. Most people begin their complaint with the person they are complaining about. Not a good idea," said Tschohl.
It all starts at the bottom and many people don't believe it will do any good - and they are often right. After all, if the complaint comes in at the bottom level, they surely are not going to send it on up to management to show what a terrible job they did of handling it.
"I don't consider people complainers, I think of them as my motivators," explained Tschohl. "Why? Because they motivate me and my staff to give them what they need, to do what is right and to have these same complainers (motivators) leave with a smile on their faces. I tell everyone that they have the right to a good experience, a quality product, and top of the line customer service. I also tell everyone that it's their responsibility to let the appropriate channels know when there is an issue. You deserve quality and top notch performance."
A common complaint is that people hate their bank but they haven't left yet. Ask them why and they say it will simply take too much time and they are all the same anyway. "But no, they are not all the same. Let your bank know that you are considering leaving and what processes, procedures, charges offend you, and let them know you will stay if they make some adjustments. All you have to do is let them know what you want," says Tschohl.
Your customers should not feel the need to be apologetic when complaining about bad service, either. They are doing you a favour by complaining (motivating) and letting you know what's gone wrong, and who needs to be done to fix the problem for future customers - effectively helping you create the maximum number of satisfied customers possible.
"Two companies that I feel have set the bar high on taking care of customers and consistently rating at the top of customer satisfaction are Disney and Amazon. Polls show that their customers are overwhelmingly happy and will continue to come back," concluded Tschohl. "Research has shown that customers with issues that are resolved quickly can often turn into loyal customers and even brand advocates."