Blog | 5 Ways Customers Complain Indirectly
Are you really listening to your customers? If you’re only responding to direct complaints, you could be missing huge opportunities to improve your customers’ experiences.
When you gather customer feedback in any form, be on the lookout for these five ways customers complain indirectly and you’ll capture better information that can help your company grow.
1. The Polite Complaint
"It’s a shame that the product doesn’t look like it did on the commercial.”
"If only you guys had called me back sooner, I wouldn’t have bought the service from your competitor.”
Polite complainers are too nice to directly complain, but their words should still be listened to carefully. Because they aren’t ready to give up on you just yet. Look past the "aww shucks” verbiage and uncover what the actual problem is. Then solve it for them quickly. Next time, they’ll be willing to give your company another chance.
2. The Non-Response
When a customer ignores your repeated requests for feedback, it’s easy to just think they’re too busy to answer you. In truth, if they were truly satisfied with their experience with your company, they’d likely take the time to answer you. A non-response is often a customer’s way of letting you know they’re not happy.
3. The High-Roller
"Since I’m a loyal customer, what else will you give me?”
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking high-roller customers are just greedy. If they’re asking for more, they’re likely feeling like they are appreciated as customers, or they aren’t receiving the value they should be.
Take this opportunity to ask the customer what would make them satisfied. What more value can you provide so they feel that they got what they paid for?
4. The Self-Deprecating Complaint
"I’m sure it’s my fault this happened, but…”
Like the Polite Complainer, customers who give you this kind of feedback have generally liked their experience with your company and don’t want to cause you any trouble. But they have legitimate concerns that need to be addressed.
Even if the problem is the customer’s fault in some way, this is a learning opportunity. What went wrong and how did it go wrong? Is there something you can change in your process or products that will prevent this from happening in the future? Was it a communication error? Do sales reps or customer service reps need to be re-trained in an area?
5. The Comparison
"This other product is better.”
Whether they are comparing the product they purchased to another product they had previously purchased from you, or they’re comparing it to a competitor’s product, this customer is bringing a problem to your attention. Something wasn’t up to par about their experience.
Ask focused follow-up questions. What can you do to make their next experience with your company the best they’ve ever had?
Direct Feedback is Valuable Too
In many cases, feedback is seen as complaint. Whether it’s about the service, products, purchasing experience or customer service, there is valuable information in almost all feedback that can help your company improve.
Very often, direct complaints have suggestions for improvements written in. But if they don’t, you can find these "hidden” improvement possibilities by analyzing the complaints.
Even though the customer may not always be right, the customer’s opinion should be heard. Capturing feedback, positive or negative, is a necessity for any company. Collect it – frequently – at a times and places that are convenient for both your company and your customers.
When you enable dialogue and feedback from multiple touch-points, you can get more honest and detailed feedback.