I was talking with a bunch of business owners the other day and was explaining a phenomena called The Complaint Iceberg. I’ve written about it a bit more here.
To bring the concept to life I asked if anyone had gone to a restaurant, as an example, and
- Had a bad enough experience that they complained; and
- Had an experience that was not quite bad enough to complain but they vowed to themselves they would never go back again.
A few people put their hand up to the first option but everyone put their hand up to the second. They also said that in both cases they would tell all of their friends about their experience.
Talk about punching a hole in your marketing efforts.
Most companies are ready to respond to complaints, some are good at it but only a few really go looking for these ‘silent’ complaints.
The ones that do are particularly open to feedback from everyone everywhere and are tenacious in their pursuit of the silence.
They do this via clever emails, web feedback tools, letters, postcards and timely phone calls.
In doing this, there is no guarantee that your ‘silent’ complainers will talk to you but if you do going looking there are three things that will happen:
- You’ll show that you really care about your business and your customers
- You will find some ‘silent’ complaints that you can then put right; and
- You’ll reduce some of the negative word of mouth that exists about your business that normally you would have known nothing about.
Are you ready to pursue the silence?