Turn Complaints into Opportunities-And Save a Customer or Two

By Triplett, Ted | ABA Bank Marketing, May 2011 | Go to article overview
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Turn Complaints into Opportunities-And Save a Customer or Two


Triplett, Ted, ABA Bank Marketing


ONE OF THE SURE SIGNS OF A BAD OR DECLINING RELATION-SHIP is the absences of complaints from the customer" reports Harvard professor Theodore Levitt. "Nobody is ever that satisfied, especially not over an extended period of time. The customer is either not being candid or is not being contacted."

If you're not getting customer complaints, you may be missing opportunities to retain and expand relationships. Rather than complaining, customers are probably just leaving--or, at best, cutting the amount of business they are doing with your bank.

No matter how high your bank's level of service, there will always be occasional mistakes or service errors. Accept the fact that customers complain and consider improving your internal processes to welcome these customer issues. Otherwise, customers may simply walk away, deny you an opportunity to make amends, or worse, make the complaints public.

The average person who has a complaint tells nine to 10 people about it; 13 percent tell more than 20 people. Customers whose complaints have been resolved tell five to six people about their positive experience.

Encourage constructive complaints

I believe banks should not only actively encourage their customers to provide feedback, but make it easier for their customers to do so. How? By providing ways for customers to constructively complain at either the branch level or via another communication channel (such as telephone, e-mail or surveys).

The first step to encourage feedback is to listen to what customers are saying, especially as it relates to ideas for improvement. The next step is the most important one: Act on what customers are complaining about. Make sure those who have offered comments know what your bank is doing about their suggestions.

Acknowledge complaints

This is not to suggest that the bank has to change or fix everything customers complain about.

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Turn Complaints into Opportunities-And Save a Customer or Two
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