Understanding Why Customers Complain

Posted by on May 1, 2012 in Customer Satisfaction | 0 comments

Improving customer satisfaction and understanding why customers complain are certainly worthy Lean Six Sigma projects and deserve attention.  Companies need to understand why customers complain, why some unhappy customers’ don’t complain, and what customers’ expectations are about their complaints.  Customers usually complain for a number of reasons:  to obtain a refund or compensation, to vent their anger, and to help improve a service or product.

A study conducted a few years ago, found that only 5 to 10% of dissatisfied customers formally complain.  Often unhappy customers just quit buying the product or service.  In order to improve your organizations ability to understand why customers complain, you should follow these basic principles:

  • Make it easy for your customers to give feedback.  Companies need to provide various ways customers can provide feedback.  Comment cards, surveys, toll-free numbers, and website links are the most common.
  • Be proactive.  Procedures need to be implemented and employees trained and empowered to make decisions.
  • Learn from the feedback.  Feedback should be appropriately documented and acted upon.

I’ve read other studies that found the cost of getting new customers far exceeds the cost of keeping the ones you currently have.  In today’s economy, understanding and acting on your customers’ concerns before they become a problem can go a long way in improving their satisfaction with your products and services.

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