Who are your most valuable customers?

Jeremy DSouza
|
5
min read
Who are your most valuable customers?

What’s your dream customer like?

Would you like to work with someone who just buys your product, uses it, and never pesters you again?

Or maybe someone who loves your solution and continuously praises you to the heavens?

Well, as long as it’s not a customer that keeps complaining, right

Wrong.

Customers that complain might very well be your most valuable customers.

I’ll admit it, that does sound a bit counterintuitive. But there’s a strong logic behind this statement.

Most customers won’t bother complaining. When they face an issue, they’ll do the easier thing - leave. They’d rather switch over to your competitors than let you know about their complaints.

That means that the customers who do complain shouldn’t be looked at as the annoying ones. You shouldn’t be looking at the as the ones that will end up reducing team morale.

In fact, these customers are the ones that will take you forward, into the future.

They’re challenging you. They’re giving you an opportunity to improve. They’re essentially making the effort to show you what issues many of your customers are facing, but don’t want to report. That makes these ‘annoying’ customers invaluable.

And, customers that get their complaints resolved end up far more loyal than those that don’t complain at all. They’re usually 30% more loyal than customers that don’t complain.

What does that mean for you?

Well, that means that you need more customers that tell you how they’re actually feeling. You need customers who’ll say, “Hey, this isn’t working for me,I need you to do better.”.

These customers will force you to innovate. They’ll stop you from being satisfied and complacent. They’ll give you reasons to do things that will get the world to talk about you.

And guess what, customers that force you to innovate are customers that will help you avoid going the way of Blockbuster Video.

What should you do about this?

First off, you need to solicit complaints. But you can’t solicit complaints and not do anything about them. You also need to set up a process to solve the problems your customers are facing.

Why don’t customers complain?

According to John Goodman, there are four reasons why customers avoid complaining:

1. They think it’s pointless

2. It takes too much effort

3. They don’t know where to complain

4. They’re afraid of retribution

1. They think it’s pointless

They’re convinced that they’re just wasting their time and getting their hopes up for nothing. Essentially, this means that your customers think that you don’t care enough to solve their problems. 

2. It takes too much effort

Placing a complaint just feels like a chore. Imagine visiting your website to place a complaint and seeing a long, scary form. It almost seems like you’re consciously trying to deter them for complaining.

3. They don’t know where to complain

They’d like to let you know what problems they’re facing, but can’t seem to find a way to do it. If you don’t show them how to reach you, even the customers who were ready to tell you what you should improve on will simply ditch you for the competition.

4. They’re afraid of retribution

These customers are worried that the company might take their complaints negatively and try to take action against them. Maybe they’re concerned about them taking it personally and harassing them. Either way, they’re too scared to actually let you know what issues they’re facing.

How do you encourage customers to complain?

1. Frame your requests positively.

First off, when you’re trying to solicit complaints, try to frame your request positively. Don’t let them think about your organization negatively. Swap the word ‘problems’ for ‘issues’. 

2. Show genuine concern

Make it clear that you actually care about their issues. Don’t make it seem like a mere formality. Show them that you’ll do your best to solve their problems.

3. Make it easy

Yes, it’s nice to have a lot of information, but is it absolutely necessary? Even at the cost of the customer not sharing their problems because it takes too much time and energy?

Simplify the process. Reduce the number of fields in the form. Only ask for the information that you absolutely need and make the rest of the fields optional.

4. Open up more channels of communication

Make it easier for your customers to get in touch with you. Reach them on the channels they are comfortable communicating over.

What if, instead of filling out that long, tedious form on your website, they could just send a WhatsApp message? That make it much easier for them to share their concerns.

Jeff Bezos was right when he said,

“The easier you make it for customers to do something, the more they’ll do it.”

5. Show that you’ll take their complaints well

Show your customers that you’ll take the complaints positively and look at them as an opportunity to improve, rather than a reason to get angry.

How should you handle their complaints?

1. Respond quickly

In a world where our attention span is 1 second shorter than that of a goldfish, you don’t want to keep your customers waiting.

Make them wait too long and your customers will, in most cases, decide that it isn’t worth getting their complaints addressed. Simply put, that means that they’re headed towards your competitors.

A live chat system allows your agents to handle mutliple conversations simultaneously. That means you can respond much faster than you could over the phone.

And even when your agents are offline, you can set up an intelligent chatbot to respond to them.

You don’t need to resolve every compliant immediately. Yes, some of them take time to solve. But you should acknowledge their complaints quickly and assure them that you’re working on it.

2. Thank them

They really are your most valuable customers. They’ve given you an opportunity to improve your product/service and deserve to be thanked.

As an added benefit, thanking customers who complain will reassure them that you’re committed to creating a better experience for them.

3. Dig deeper

Often you’ll receive a complaint about a surface level problem. You need to dig deeper and ask more questions to find the core, underlying issue.

Don’t just jump to conclusions. Find out what the real problem is and you’ll spare them (and other customers) the effort of having to complain again.

4. Follow up

Sure, it might seem like a waste of time to follow up after resolving an issue, but it shows that you care.

It lets them know that you’re thinkng about them and will make them more likely to talk positively about you.

What if they’re rowdy?

Customers that challenge you are very valuable, but that doesn’t mean you should let them walk all over you. If you have a customer that’s abusive, threatening, or continuously makes outrageous/unreasonable requests, you shouldn’t tolerate them.

In such a situation, make use of Engati Live Chat’s ability to block/ban users. It doesn’t make sense to let these customers threaten, demoralize and waste your agents’ time.

Taking care of your most valuable customers

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