“Customers are the most important part of the production line.”

— W. Edwards Deming

“A satisfied customer? We should have him stuffed.”
— Jon Cleese as Basil Fawlty of Fawlty Towers, BBC Television Program

It is hard to Bhupinder understand why so many businesses allow customers to leave dissatisfied and stop being customers? It costs up to five times as much to attract new customers as it does to keep customers. Yet many businesses focus on attracting new business rather than relating to the needs of the customers they do have.

Why do customers leave? Simply put, the reason most customers stop doing business with a particular company is because they were not satisfied. Some element of quality was not there. It could be anything. Could be the lack of friendly service, the wine list, the return policy, weak after sale service, inconvenient business hours, the parking.

It is hard to say since 24 out of 25 customers will make this switch without telling the business of their dissatisfaction. Only one out of 25 is willing inform the business about their dissatisfaction and enlighten the business about possible needed changes. Customer complaints are one of the most inexpensive, available, useful and yet ignored forms of customer market data.

Your customers know your weaknesses better than you. The insightful companies train their employees to see a complaining customer as a chance to gain valuable insight not just repair damage. Yes, the customers we wish would just go away are extremely valuable A complaining customer will eventually go away — along with their business, four to five positive referrals and their insight into how to make your company better.

But don’t overlook the damage they can do to your business. The average dissatisfied customer will tell over fifteen other people about your lousy product or service. Road However over 90% of all complaining customers will do business with you again if you resolve their complaint quickly and professionally. Businesses must start cherishing (complaining) customers.

Five Quick Tips:

Thank them for their interest in making your company better.

Never call what the customer is doing as complaining.

Listen intently and never interrupt.

Don’t make excuses. The business that makes a mistake, then offers an excuse for it, has made two mistakes.

Be honest. As Waylon Jenning says, “Honesty is something you can’t wear out.”

Lose the battle to win the war. The battle is this situation. The war is fought to keep this customer and their money and their positive referrals flowing through your company. We must always be Cherishing Customers.