Kill Them With Kindness: How to Embrace Customer Complaints

By: Kate Zimmerman

September 15, 2015

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With 95% of your customers never even taking the time to complain, you may wonder if you even need to keep an eye on negative social feedback. Don’t make this mistake! Without a mature customer experience management program in place, you may just miss the negative review that takes on a crippling viral life of its own. These public, or onstage haters, have become unelected representatives of the “meh middle” of your customers. Many other customers are looking to them to see how a complaint is handled meaning you can’t ignore them.

Speaker and author Jay Baer discussed the nuances of negative reviews and the importance of addressing them during his breakout presentation at Content Marketing World last week.

While it may seem impossible to address all the negative reviews, answering customer complaints actually increases customer advocacy. Conversely, not answering these complaints decreases customer advocacy.

Most of your complaints are still coming from offstage venues such as your call center or through email. These customers expect an answer from you and you likely already have some sort of strategy in place to help them. It is critical to make sure that you are tracking and measuring these complaints, in addition to addressing them, so that you can make improvements that will help all of your customers and save your business money.

However, a growing number of customers are turning to social media and online review sites to share their thoughts and feelings. Many of these customers are younger, and many don’t even expect an answer from you. They are just looking for an audience to hear their thoughts. However, answering these complaints will help you to not only improve the opinion of that individual, but will also create a public record of the great customer service you provide. This is when your customer advocacy skyrockets.

It can seem overwhelming to try to respond to each and every customer complaint on social media, especially when the vast majority of this feedback doesn’t even tag your company. However, social listening software can help you track these customers, and social media engagement software gives you a centralized platform to efficiently respond.

Clarabridge and Engagor can help you identify these complaints, track any trends, and respond efficiently and appropriately. We are excited to host our inaugural C3 Europe on October 28 and hear more from Jay Baer on this important aspect of customer experience.

Kate Zimmerman is a Product Marketing Associate at Clarabridge. Kate focuses on building content that supports CX efforts, product marketing, analyst relations, and has become an industry expert in Customer Experience Management. Kate holds a B.A in Politics from the University of Virginia and can be found on Twitter at @kmzimm.