A recent study showed that only 4% of customers who were dissatisfied with their dealing will bother to feedback their views to that company. But the real damage to an organisation’s reputation and profits is caused when the 96% of dissatisfied customers then go on to tell at least six of their family and friends what a bad experience they had with the organisation.

Complaint handling procedures and resolution should always be encouraged as they should help organisations to engage more positively with their existing and prospective customers. However, how can you learn from your mistakes when the overwhelming majority will give not give the feedback which will help to improve service?

So what does happen to the 96%? Well, in simple terms, these customers go elsewhere, either in the short or longer term, and engage with their competitors.

They also provide competitors with valuable insights into other organisations mistakes.

Can organisations really expect to pick up on more signals and signs of dissatisfaction? Well here are a few tips:

1. Create the opportunity for customers to talk and make sure you listen

Sounds simple. However, the pathway to making a complaint is often littered with barriers to exhaust the customer pursing a complaint enquiry. Remove the barriers and ensure that all customer touch points are accessible.
2. Follow-up on cancelled orders or repeat purchases

Customers who stop purchasing should be followed-up and asked why. It’s is unbelievable how many organisations don’t do this.

If the reason for the issue is your fault then make sure you take it on the chin. Whilst painful, the feedback will create the basis of a learning organisation.
3. Look out on forums for customer feedback

For example by using Google Alerts you can monitor every time your company or products or services are mentioned. You can also pick up on product reviews and customer forums about your service levels.
In the past, a dissatisfied customer would, on average, tell up to 8 people about their experience. Now with the internet it could be 10’s, 100’s or even 1,000’s of people!
You can then take action on this feedback. Be selective and don’t become paranoid. But create a culture where you truly champion the customer and celebrate success. Success will surely follow.

GA Training provides customer service training for a diverse range of clients in both the public and private sector