Most Unhappy Customers Don’t Complain; They Just Never Come Back

Four chalk-drawn sad face with "Unhappy Customer's Don't Complain" text in green

The important thing to remember about giving mediocre customer service to your clients is that most people don’t complain… they simply spend their money somewhere else; unhappy customers just don’t come back.

We can all think back to a time when we went to a restaurant and the food was cold or overcooked, the waiter gave horrible service, and the whole overall experience was expensive and lousy.   Occasionally (and only if we are feeling a bit bitchy maybe) we’ll complain to the manager, but typically we pay our bills in silence…and the next time we meet our friends for dinner we choose one of the other 55 restaurants within that two-mile radius.  When the competition is many, it’s easier to move on to a new provider than to get in a tizzy about the current one.  Life is stressful enough… who needs the conflict?  OUCH.  This doesn’t just hurt a business; it can kill it.

What if you aren’t running a restaurant?  With some businesses it’s not quite as transparent.  A good manager or maître de will pick up on the customers sputtering under their breath, moving the food around with their forks in little piles on the plate, uneaten.  If you are a Realtor, a computer programmer, a service-oriented business however… well, how do you even know?   Maybe it’s time to do a little self-evaluation.

Do you ask if your customers are happy?

Even longstanding clients will appreciate the effort in a quick follow up phone call asking if they are satisfied.  If you are too busy to call then email… or have your assistant make the call.  How you communicate isn’t important, but they will notice that you valued their business enough to make sure you didn’t leave any loose ends.

Do you get referrals?  

If most of your clients contacted you because word on the street is that you are the best, congratulations.  The best form of advertisement as we all know is your clients singing your praises.  Not getting referrals?  Maybe it’s time to start making contact with your clients to find out if there is a reason why.

Are you aware of your clients’ needs?

Make sure you haven’t gotten too complacent when it comes to unhappy customers.  It’s easy to be so comfortable with your clients that you do everything the same way all the time.  Don’t get lazy… make sure this is what they want and that you are still meeting their needs.  Pay attention!

Customer retention is one of the most important aspects of your business.  If you are perceptive and caring, it should also be one of the easiest.  Do unto others… the timeless bible quote that fits within both our personal and business worlds.  Always remember that most clients will not complain… and that there are 55 other restaurants within that 2-mile stretch.

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