There are only three types of customers that always tell your company what they are thinking:

  1. The very happy. They can’t wait to tell you how great your product or service is and how it changed their life. They are falling over themselves to express their gratitude in person, by phone or on the web.
  2. The very unhappy. They can’t wait to tell you how your product or service just ruined “their life” and they wish they never met your company. They too are falling over themselves to express their dismay in person, by phone or on the web.
  3. The people you pay. Customers love to be “bribed” to tell their opinion.  Many retail stores give a $2 – $5 discount on a customer’s next order for completing a survey.

Customer ServiceUnfortunately, the majority of disgruntled customers will say nothing directly to the company. They will sulk away and never buy from that company again. In this case, no news is not always good news. It may be broken and the company may not even know it.

According to Harvard Business Review

  • 25% of customers are likely to say something positive about their customer service experience.
  • 65% are likely to speak negatively about it.
  • 23% of customers who had a positive service interaction told 10 or more people.
  • 48% of customers who had negative experiences told 10 or more people.

So while customers are more likely to complain, see it as a gift. They have taken their valuable time to give the feedback dir

ectly to the company. The business benefits in two ways:

  1. The company gets a chance to turn around their experience. Surveys show that a dissatisfied customer whose problem is fixed becomes even more loyal to the company.
  2. The company gets valuable feedback that many other customers have experienced, but never mentioned. Customer service is a moving target so customer concerns may change every month.

What should a company do? Listen carefully to make sure they understand the concern. Try not to find blame or hide problems.  Ask the customer for their best solution. Get back to the customer on how it will be solved. Collect all of these concerns so an overall trend can be spotted by the company.

How can you treat customer complaints as a gift?


Barry Moltz gets small businesses unstuck. He is a small business motivational speaker, writer, and radio host. Barry can be found at