Learning to love your angry customers—what? Most companies view customer complaints as a negative, perhaps as an annoying part of their business that needs additional resources to attend to and fix. But companies that handle complaints well actually create stronger customer loyalty. And those companies that take complaints to heart, when warranted strategically, continually develop more competitive products and services in the marketplace. So, complaints can and should be viewed as a positive! Unfortunately, many (or most) dissatisfied customers choose not to complain at all and this lack of complaining has negative long-term performance consequences for companies.
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For example, see: Bortz, Daniel. “5 Social Media Hacks for Better Customer Service,” Time.com. Accessed online at: http://time.com/money/4672443/social-media-hacks-customer-service/
See: Pfeffer, J., T. Zorbach and K. M. Carley (2014). “Understanding Online Firestorms: Negative Word-of-Mouth Dynamics in Social Media Networks,” Journal of Marketing Communications, 20 (1–2), 117–128.
See: Nasaw, Daniel. “YouTube video on wrecked guitar gets United Airlines to Pay Up,” theguardian.com. Accessed online at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/jul/23/united-airlines-guitar-dave-carroll
Vasquez, Justina (2018). “Kylie Jenner Tweeted About Snapchat. Then Its Stock Lost $1.3 Billion in Value,” Time.com, February 22, 2018.
See: Chebat, J. C., M. Davidow and I. Codjovi (2005). “Silent Voices: Why Some Dissatisfied Consumers Fail to Complain,” Journal of Service Research, 7(4), 328–342.
Some caution should be taken in comparing ACSI’s complaint rates before and after 2000, as in this year a slight adjustment to the metric to specify only “formal” complaints to companies (rather than informal complaints) was made. Even with this questionnaire change having some potential effect, however, the downward trend in the complaint rate before and after 2000 is clear.
In the case of customer complaints, both the ten-year change and the growth rank should be viewed with caution, as changes in percentages tend to be “inflated” due to the scale, and the rank in changes likewise reflects this.
See: Hirschman, A. O. (1970). Exit, Voice, and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States, Boston, MA: Harvard University Press.
HHI is a well-known metric of industry concentration that serves as a proxy for industry competitiveness. We use the accepted calculation—sum of the squared company-level market share percentages of the companies measured in the industry—to calculate HHI.
“See: Cable TV Prices Keep Going Up as More People Cut the Cord,” Associated Press, January 5, 2018.
See: Chebat, J. C., M. Davidow and I. Codjovi (2005). “Silent Voices: Why Some Dissatisfied Consumers Fail to Complain,” Journal of Service Research, 7(4), 328–342; TARP (1986), “Consumer Complaint Handling in America: An Update Study,” Washington, DC: Technical Assistance Research Programs, U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs, Contract HHS-100-84-0065.
Hart, Christopher W., James L. Heskett and W. Earl Sasser, Jr. (1990). “The Profitable Art of Service Recovery,” Harvard Business Review, 68(4), 148–156.
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Vasquez, J. (2018, February 22). Kylie Jenner Tweeted About Snapchat. Then Its Stock Lost $1.3 Billion in Value. Time.com. Retrieved from http://time.com/5170990/kylie-jenner-snapchat-stock-value/
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Fornell, C., Morgeson, F.V., Hult, G.T.M., VanAmburg, D. (2020). Customer Complaints: Learning to Love Your Angry Customers. In: The Reign of the Customer. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-13562-1_6
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