BLOWING THEIR TOPS
Got an angry customer? No problem. Just
tell him not to calm down
A research study has found that customers who are allowed to vent their
frustrations aggressively and in person become much better customers than
those who have no such opportunity.
Furthermore, the chance to kick and scream means as much or more to customers
than a speedy and fair resolution of the complaint might. Yelling gives
customers instant relief - a sense of having made their tormentors suffer
as they have. It restores equilibrium in the customer-retailer relationship,
and allows it to continue.
The study was described in a recent issue of the Journal of Consumer
Marketing. "In the course of the investigation it emerged that
not only did many of the company's customers who complained most ferociously
seem to repeat their business more frequently than the rest; they also appeared
to place larger orders following complaint resolution," it says.
The article suggests the best way to make loyal customers out of ballistic
ones is to provide them with someone to yell at. The designated whipping-person
needs to listen to the complaints without interrupting, not even to get
clarification, then admit the company's responsibility for the problem (regardless
of who was actually at fault) and apologize immediately.
Ironically, the real problem for retailers is not customers who yell
too much, but those who yell too little, the article suggests. Some people
feel guilty or embarrassed expressing anger. These customers are much more
likely to walk out the door and never return, carrying their bad memories
with them (and ready to share them with the world).Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.