Customer Complaints, A Company’s Favorite Gift

Customer Complaints, A Company’s Favorite Gift

Why don’t you complain more? You really should.

Good companies love hearing useful complaints from their customers.

On peak days, Mindshare Technologies gathers over 90,000 customer feedback surveys from your favorite retail stores and restaurants.

Each of these companies makes promises and sets expectations for customers through marketing, advertising, and previous experiences.  But, when these promises are broken, customers don’t return. They talk to their friends, and sometimes public relations nightmares ensue.

When you complain about a less-than-satisfactory experience, you are offering the company valuable information that they can use to take action!

The first and most important step that companies must take is to care for you, the customer.  Smart companies know that customers who have a negative experience that is fixed are actually more loyal to a company than if they’d merely been satisfied with their experience in the first place.

For example, a few weeks ago, I went to dinner with my family to a casual dining restaurant. The server completely forgot my order and didn’t realize it until he brought out everyone’s entrees and was short a plate.

I was upset, to say the least.

To make up for his mistake, he apologized, put a rush on my food, and had it out to me in minutes.  He then offered our table free drinks.  It was obvious that our business was important to him and that the incident was an accident. (Not to mention, he was empowered to resolve the customer’s concern.)

I will definitely be back, because I know that this restaurant has no qualms about taking care of me.

The next step to utilizing customer feedback is to correct the mistake at its source. Sometimes a complaint will come as a result of a product defect, a lack of training, or a loophole in company processes. When a company has the ability to identify the who, what, when, and where of a service lapse, they can more effectively plug the holes and prevent repeat offenses.

Companies want your feedback so desperately that they often give away products, discounts, and other incentives to motivate customers to participate in customer feedback surveys. Complaints are a gift, and oftentimes the most valuable connection a company has with its customers.

TARP researchers have found that for every one person who complains, there are 26 who do not. Every time you complain, and/or give feedback,  not only are you helping your favorite companies get better at what they do, but you’re providing a voice for dozens of other customers who may have experienced the same issue.

Next time you have a negative experience with a business, do them a favor and let them know! If it’s a company that really appreciates your business, they’ll be glad for the constructive feedback, make things right with you, and make the necessary changes so it doesn’t happen again.

About the author

Nate Bagley is the Social Media Expert at Mindshare. In addition to social media, he has extensive experience in SEO, paid search (PPC), public relations, and customer service. Nate is in love with Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Wordpress, YouTube, and other things you’d think a social media guy would like. Nate has more digital friends than real-world friends. This is probably why he’s single.


9 Comments


  1. How about flipping this the other way also?

    For each person that speaks up, there are usually another 90 or so that don’t say anything.

    As it is, there are already a lot of complainers out there (and of course the people who using complaining as a veil to simply try to extort additional service).

    Instead, it’d be nice to hear what companies are doing right. We need to hear more praise (regardless of whether there was an issue, like your restaurant experience, involved).

  2. Bruce,

    I agree completely. Focusing on the good is also very important, and should not be overlooked. I pulled some numbers recently, and found that around 80% of the customer surveys that come through Mindshare’s system are overwhelmingly positive.

    Most people who provide feedback to companies actually leave praise and talk about the things/people made the experience great.

    Companies should definitely use the positive comments to their advantage, and many do!

  3. Great post. Having spent my entire professional career in customer service management (in the IT field), I can honestly say that constructive feedback of any kind is like gold to everyone in the organization/company. Feedback not only provides the business with an opportunity to tweak services but also opens the door for priceless coaching opportunities with both staff and management. Remember, if you patronize a business and have either a GREAT or TERRIBLE experience, the worst you can say is nothing.

  4. Just one more good post originating from http://deliverbliss.com/2011/01/customer-complaints-gift/. I have been looking into your website for a long time presently and I see that you have been certainly moving up with the search rankings which makes myself delighted.

  5. Complaints are indeed gifts as the title of Janelle Barlow and Claus Moller’s book suggests. When faced with difficult customer service scenarios companies have 2 choices… listen/adapt or ignore/perish.

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  6. That’s quite true though, a company won’t really fix anything if they’re not aware that there’s something wrong in their structure or mode of service.

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