Here’s Why Angry Customers are Your Business’ Best Friends

Posted: October 3, 2010 in General Business Fodder
Tags: , ,

This wonderfully droll comic strip, Wondermark, clearly demonstrates how most customers actually behave in the aftermath of a disappointing experience with a business or vendor.

Many people do not like confrontation of any kind.  So as customers, they will avoid it by simply glossing over a service problem.  While that may be “fine” with the service provider (because, really, who likes to be hassled?), the business will never know how poorly their product or service was delivered.

But many others will know.  Disgruntled customers are way more prone to talk than their more “gruntled” counterparts. They’ll tell their friends and their family.  If they’re particularly chatty, or inebriated, they’ll tell complete strangers.  Or if they are computer literate, they’ll tell the legions that follow their blogs, tweets, and facebookings.  And they will definitely tell the business’ competitors, when they patronize them instead of the offending business that they chose not to confront about a poor experience.

So, the offending company loses customers, its competitors gain customers, and they never knew what hit them. Because either their customers decided not to complain.  Or maybe the business isn’t making it easy for customers to complain or critique.  Because who wants to be hassled, right?

Certainly not your angry customer.  He’s got you in his rearview.  

But you should want to be hassled by your dissatisfied customers!  You need to know what irked them, so you can resolve it and not do it again.  You need to know how upset they are, so you can make it up to them in a way that will help rebuild their trust.  You think I am being dramatic here?  I am not.  Every customer is precious.  Stay in front of them!

  1. Great point — imagine how much product and service excellence “could have been” if only customers really believed we want to hear their true opinions! It takes humility, but knowledge is power. I have a lemonade metaphor for openness to customer complaints:

  2. Chuck Dennis says:

    Lynn – Great metaphor for customer complaints! Lemonade without the lemons is just sugary water!

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