Commentary

Fix Complaints Fast, Or Else

When it comes to running a business, the internet is a beautiful and terrifying place, says a new study by Corra.com. It lets us reach more customers quicker and with less of a marketing budget, helps us stay in touch with customers through email marketing and a constant social media presence, and gives even tiny brands the opportunity to go viral with a particularly funny, touching, or interesting ad, tweet, or campaign.

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But it also lets our customers tell us what they think of us with bad, angry, ugly comments included in a very public way. Those negative reviews can be the bane of a company’s existence. The report tackles significant issues about complaints and possible fixes.

In response to complaints and customer service, the report says that 52% complain of a service issue, 31.4% about products and 16.6% about a policy issue. The likeliness of complaining to customer service (on a scale of 1 to 5… 1 being least likely) short list looks like this:

Complain Reaction (on a scale of 1 to 5… 1 being least likely)

Likely to complain when:

Average degree of intent

   When a product is faulty

3.87

   When a company charges a hidden fee

3.84

   When customer rep is rude

3.79

   When a product is not as described

3.70

When:

   Airlines lose luggage

3.61

   Clothing ordered is poor material or damaged

3.47

   Won’t accept returm

3.43

To

    Service bad at store

2.99

   Customer service rep is uninformed

2.73

   Product overpriced for quality

2.51

   Service slow at check in

2.13

   Can’t find need on retailer website

1.71

Source: Corra, April 2017

There are plenty of things that can go wrong in a customer interaction, says the report, but in the minds of customers, according to the 2,000 surveyed, the worst offense is a customer service mishap. Over half of respondents said they were likely to complain publicly if customer service did a poor job resolving their product or service issue.

The Overall Desires When Leaving Negative Feedback (% of respondents):

  • Like to save other customers from same experience   73.2%
  • Like to see company more upfront   48.7
  • Like a refund   48.3
  • Like to see a policy change…39.7
  • Like an apology   38.9
  • Like credit or gift card   28.5
  • Like to hurt (company) reputation   13.5

Source: Corra, April 2017

When a customer leaves a negative review, rages at you on Twitter, or writes a scathing blog post, what should you do? To figure it out, the survey respondents were asked what they hoped to accomplish when they complained about a brand. Did they want a refund, an apology, to affect brand policy, or to put that brand out of business?

In response to expectation following a negative response, the top answer is a simple and a rather good-hearted one, says the report: Most customers leave negative reviews to save others from having the same experience. You may not always be able to control a delayed shipment, faulty product, or a bad customer reaction to your business policy, says the report, but you can control the responsiveness of your customer service, the department’s empathy, and its ability to go the extra mile to fix a problem.

And when the problem is fixed, people are likely to remember and mention it in their review. They may even go back and edit a review to reflect their new experience. According to research, 70% of people whose customer service complaints are resolved in their favor will do business with you again.

And, speaking to tolerance of bad treatment, the report finds that 10.3% would give the company up for good after one chance; 89% after two; the percentage of consumers who would give the company a second chance.

Give A Second Chance

Age

Women

Men

20s

90%

87.4%

40s

86%

91.1%

60s

75.7%

89.7%

Source: Corra, April 2017

Finally, the study asked survey respondents for the industries they’ve most had trouble with when it comes to customer service. The most common answer, by far, for men and women was cable companies, followed by cellphone providers, airlines, and restaurants.

Industries With Worst Service

Industry

Men

Women

Cable companies

72.2%

69.5%

Cellphone providers

54.4

57.1

Airlines

44.4

42.9

Restaurants

33.0

38.5

Retail stores

25.5

27.9

Banks

24.0

18.0

Online stores

15.0

19.0

Hotels

14.6

13.1

Source: Corra, April 2017

For additional information from Corra, please visit here.

 

 

1 comment about "Fix Complaints Fast, Or Else".
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  1. Jonathan Hutter from EMHS (Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems), April 19, 2017 at 8:13 a.m.

    Interesting results. My own survey of one showed that 98% of respondents in this survey lied, especially when asked about their intent in leaving negative feedback. The true responses:

    Like to hurt the company's reputation - 88%
    Like a credit or gift card - 87.5%
    Like a refund - 75%
    Like an apology - 48.3%
    Like to save other customers from the same experience - 4%

    Response not asked or given: to make me feel more important. 

    Seriously though, product problems are not always avoidable. Service problems usually are. An apology before the customer has a chance to reach social media goes a long way towards avoiding the negative postings. 

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