Conventional wisdom suggests that the vast majority people who are unhappy with the services and products they buy don’t complain. A huge number of them simply walk away and no longer want to do business with service providers and vendors who have disappointed them. And perhaps an even greater number will tell others about their bad experience. In fact, it is likely that people who are unhappy with a service or product will tell between 10 and 20 people about their bad experiences. That means that if 10 of your clients are unhappy with something you have done or not done, the chances are that 200 people will hear the story – and perhaps with some embellishments and exaggerations. The damage to your business is potentially huge.
An interesting corollary to this is that the vast majority of people who complain about a service or product and feel that their problem has been satisfactorily addressed remain loyal to the business. Furthermore, the mere voicing of a complaint, even in the absence of a resolution, increases loyalty, too. Therefore, don’t look at client complaints as a negative. Remember that the client who is complaining to you, even angrily, is giving you an opportunity to do something to solve the problem, retain his or her loyalty, and build goodwill for your business. Thank the complaining client for bringing the matter to your attention and for giving you the chance to provide the best service and products possible – and really mean it when you say it. – Dr. Laura Hills, Blue Pencil Institute, www.bluepencilinstitute.com.