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Crisis frustration provides roadmap to better customer service

As important as providing and documenting great customer service is, discovering and acting upon customer dissatisfaction may be even more important.

According to a recent article: “Customer complaints provide valuable data…There are more of these than you may realize. A study by 1st Financial Training Services found that 96% of unhappy customers don’t complain, however, 91% of those will simply leave and never come back. According to Lee Resource, for every customer that complains, there are 26 other unhappy customers who have remained silent.”

With crisis-related emotions and frustrations bubbling up, this is an incredible time to assess and address customer dissatisfaction about everything from customer service quality itself to product/service inadequacies. Then, tell the world about the problem-solving and the consequent effect on customer satisfaction.

The article continues: “The White House Office of Consumer Affairs found that a dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-15 people about their experience; around 13% tell more than 20 people, which leads to damaged reputations and loss of potential customers and revenue… According to a study by the Rockefeller Corporation, 68% of customers will leave a company because they believe that their complaint will fall on deaf ears – you don’t care about them. Others find the process of making a complaint burdensome, if there is even a process… there is merit in actually encouraging your customers to complain and making it easy for them to do so.”

Instead of softball survey questions that ask customers to rank service, support and where applicable, products, get to the heart of the matter by asking direct questions that encourage sharing concerns. “Some potential question topics to consider include: What is/are the thing(s) that frustrate(s) you most when working with us? What is one thing you wish we did better? What is one thing you wish we didn’t do? What is one thing your favorite supplier does that you wish we did? It is important to set up these processes and pose these questions in a way that encourages people to answer,” notes the article.

Then, use the results to improve across the board and address individual concerns to the fullest extent possible. Customers seeing companies able and willing to both talk about and solve problems are much more likely to stick around and become raving fans. After all, any company can look good when all is going well. It’s in the trenches when problems arise that verifies the true commitment to top-notch customer service.

And, if there’s ever been a time when that commitment makes sense, it’s now.

Report results via articles, blogposts, social media sharing and mini-case studies to document problem-solving skills and make the case for continuous improvement. This can instill customer confidence and drive loyalty, and help prospects become customers.


Have you gone out of your way to provide more compassionate and caring customer service during the COVID-19 crisis? If so, those efforts can become a cornerstone of customer loyalty and buying. In addition to those who already know, tell the rest of the world about it! This is a case where prior “good acts” can stoke the fires of ongoing sales and word-of-mouth kudos. But, you gotta let everyone know first. One of the most credible and compelling ways to do that is to develop thought leadership articles, blogposts, social media content, podcasts, and even short videos to address what you did—and hopefully are still doing—to show your appreciation of and respect for those who keep you in business.

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Mark Lusky | 303.621.6136 |

Veteran writer, storyteller and author, with 40+ years of public relations, advertising, marketing and journalism experience. Author of A Wandering Wondering Jew… and co-author of Don’t Get Mad, Get Leverage. Mark (aka The Happy Curmudgeon) is the owner of a Denver-based marketing communications firm.

One reply on “Crisis frustration provides roadmap to better customer service”

As a customer, I really like this. I will day that many customer service questionnaires are too long and repetitive. If I’ve had a bad experience, I don’t want to spend more time answering 20 questions. KISS still works.

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