Misconceptions Of A Quiet Customer

Misconceptions Of A Quiet Customer

  • Posted by Aaron Martens
  • On December 10, 2015
  • Comments

No news is good news, right? When it comes to customer happiness, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Just because you hear nothing from a customer does not mean all is well. In fact, over 80% of customers suffer in silence when they have a poor experience, convinced it’s too much trouble or won’t do any good. To the retailer these transactions appear to be problem-free; but in reality, the dissatisfied-but-silent customer is far less likely to recommend the retailer, and has a greater risk of attrition, than one who spoke up and had the negative experience resolved.

A recent customer satisfaction study found billions of dollars are jeopardized: A typical retailer puts an average of 16% of its revenue at risk from dissatisfied customers who stay silent.

That varies greatly by retail format, however: 11% of grocers’ revenue is at risk – more than $100 billion in the $986 billion U.S. grocery industry. For mass merchandisers, it’s 25% of potential revenue; a typical $1 billion mass merchandise chain, for example, risks $250 million in potential revenue.

These numbers illustrate how critical it is to create authentic loyalty up-front and throughout every step of the customer experience that encourages customer to speak up. As an industry, we often report about and focus our efforts on specific loyalty programs and the tactical approaches used. While those are important, the entire customer experience, the time spent on hold, the cleanliness of the bathroom, the greeting when walking in a store all drive real engagement and loyalty.

Most retailers do have some form of sounding station – call centers, social media channels and sales associates, for example – but those aren’t attracting feedback from the silent 80+%. The trick is to create a consistent process to field complaints that accomplishes three key things:

  • It should be automated: Send follow-up emails on every transaction soliciting feedback.
  • It must be effortless: The survey should be 5 clicks of a button or less.
  • Reward them. Something as simple as 100 more points or 10% off next purchase can go along way.

So there you have it, you MUST figure out a way to get the silent complainers to complain with their voice.