No business is perfect. Despite your best efforts to provide quality products and services to your target audience, mistakes, oversights, poor decisions, and negative experiences are bound to occur.
Although the goal is to minimize such outcomes, when situations arise that cause a customer to file a complaint or make an inquiry, businesses must be prepared to resolve the matter as efficiently as possible. Unfortunately, not all business owners follow this concept.
Some companies ignore or invest little time and effort into providing a feasible solution to customer complaints and requests. While it may seem like one disgruntled customer won’t have much impact, the truth is it can have significant consequences for your business. Continue reading to learn more.
Loss of a Loyal Customer
Maintaining sales requires a combination of acquiring and retaining customers. Although new customers bring business, it’s the long-term customers that help to sustain your bottom line. It’s also much more affordable to keep existing customers than to market and convert new ones. You lose a loyal buyer if you ignore or fail to resolve customer complaints. Whether they purchased your products and services weekly, monthly, or annually, it’s a sale you can no longer count.
Missed Referral Opportunities
When customers are satisfied, they share their experiences with others. They may even recommend your products and services. Each referral is an opportunity to make a sale. However, if you’re mistreated or fail to resolve the matter with your existing customer, you lose those referrals and the chance to increase profits.
The internet has exponentially increased consumer power. Previously, dissatisfied customers’ opinions of your business could only go as far as their inner circle. Now, they can take their concerns to the internet and reach millions of people. One negative review on a reputable site could prompt hundreds or even thousands of potential customers to think twice about doing business with your organization. The more word gets around, the worse it is for your reputation.
Customers have legal rights that are protected by the local and federal governments. Businesses violating those rights could face legal ramifications, including lawsuits and fines. Take a DSAR (Data Subject Access Request), for instance. Suppose a customer asks to review how an organization uses their personal information, but you fail to comply. In that case, you are violating data subject rights and privacy laws. It could lead to government investigations, fines, and consumer lawsuits.
A company with a poor reputation, stagnated profits, and legal troubles may have difficulty providing a positive work environment for its employees. Depending on how much financial trouble the customer complaint causes, it could prevent businesses from generating enough revenue to pay their staff. Ultimately, it will prompt employees to look elsewhere for work. Fewer employees slow productivity and reduce customer service, which increases the risk of more complaints, a weakened reputation, and the loss of more loyal customers.
Overlooking complaints or providing minimal resolutions results in a lot of money going down the drain. You lose the sale from loyal customers and potential sales from referrals. You’ll have to spend money to rebuild your reputation and restore your credibility with existing customers and target audiences. You’ll have to hire and train new staff to compensate for the high turnover rates. You could rack up debt trying to cover the cost of lost profits. Lastly, you’ll shell out thousands for lawyers, fines, settlements, and judgments if you’re legally liable.
Indeed, you can’t please everyone all the time. However, when mistakes are made, it’s a business’ ethical, moral, and legal responsibility to rectify the problem. While it may seem like one complaint won’t have an impact on your operations, failing to respond to complaints and requests will ultimately do more harm than good. As such, businesses must accommodate dissatisfied customers to the best of their abilities. Resolving customer complaints as they arise is easier than allowing them to spiral out of control and cause problems that your company cannot overcome.