Segment Customer Complaints to Draw the Right Lessons

Complaints are never pleasant to hear but they are a reality of customer service. No matter how committed you are to excellence, no business will ever be able to please everybody all the time.

However, rather than trying to forget about them as quickly as possible or not acknowledge them, you should see them as an opportunity to learn more about your company with an outsider’s perspective and find out what needs to be improved.

Even if you are an organisation practicing the principle of ‘the customer is always right’, some are less right than others and taking all complaints seriously will send you wasting resources on problems that aren’t really problems.

To draw the right lessons from those complaints, it is essential to stratify customers’ type to focus your efforts:

  • Mainstream customers are those who complain about ‘reasonable’ issues such as quality of products and shipping delays for example.
  • Hypersensitive customers are those who get upset about insignificant details that most people don’t care about.
  • Customers who shouldn’t be customers and whose expectations are unrealistic like the hotel guest complaining about the furniture arrangement of a room because it isn’t Feng Shui.

It is obvious that companies should pay more attention to the first category as it is the one most likely to reveal issues that really need addressing. They are the core customers you rely on, but it doesn’t mean that you should necessarily dismiss hypersensitive customers.

Whether their complaint is justified or not, there is nothing simpler for them than to take to social media to share their experience of your company. Other customers coming across their complaint will only see that you didn’t resolve an issue satisfactorily and it may affect how they perceive your company.

It is worth noting that not all hypersensitive customers will complain. They will probably have been dismissed by other customer services and will be doing their very best no to sound unreasonable. However, although they may react strongly to issues that may seem unessential, those are still worth exploring, especially if you see a pattern, as they may be indicative of an underlying problem that could become bigger.

As for the third type of customer, there isn’t anything you can really do for them! The best course of action is to acknowledge their complaint and move on to more important matters.

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