Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Tis the season to give and receive! A complaint from an unhappy constituent is probably NOT on your wish list during this holiday season. Yet the complaining customer is a huge gift, albeit a well disguised one, to you and to your business.

Here are five reasons why your complaining customer is a gift: 

1. One complaining customer is the tip of the iceberg, because for each one, there are 26 unhappy people who say nothing to you, but tell nine to fifteen others. And 13% of the 26 are each telling 20 others.  Conservatively, this could result in 313 negative comments about your business.

The person who complains to you is giving you the wonderful opportunity to address a problem. When you can eliminate the problem for that one, you improve your service for many, and reduce negativity.
2. When you respond respectfully and in a timely fashion to the complaining customer you have the opportunity to create a loyal fan. Even if it takes time to resolve the complaint, the customer will likely continue to use your company. When you are able to resolve the complaint satisfactorily and also quickly, the complaining customer is practically guaranteed to remain loyal.
Since it costs five to seven times more to replace a customer than it does to retain a customer, you have the opportunity to save money for your company.  

3.  Approximately 68% of the customers who leave a company do so because they feel they were not treated well. Their complaint offers you the opportunity to change that perception.

4.  A new prospect has a 5-20% likelihood of buying a product or service you are offering, compared to your existing customer’s 60–70%
probability, so you create more profit by retaining a customer.

And, perhaps best of all...

5.  With each complaining customer you engage, you grow in experience, professionalism, value to your company~~~and self-esteem.

 A visit from a disgruntled customer may be your best gift this holiday season. Enjoy!
      Jeannie Newman is a speaker and coach, specializing in all aspects of Emotional Intelligence. Contact her for guided discussions, workshops, and seminars that feature theory and practical application of staff retention, customer retention, and related topics. She works with individuals, agencies, organizations, and corporations. She can be found at, LinkedIn, or 860.794.4109.