People who complain about your business, don’t complain about your business
You just bought a box of cereal with bold letters on the outside promising “freshness guaranteed!”. You open the box and the airtight bag, and find pebble-hard corn flakes inside.
You know it’s not a problem to exchange the box of cereal because the retailer and manufacturer will honour their guarantee and exchange goods that are not what it should be. You dive into the dustbin where you discarded the till slip, find your proof of purchase, get into your car, drive to the retailer, report to a desk manager, wait for them to process a refund, find another box, and drive home.
While driving home you notice a slightly bitter taste in your mouth. That is the taste of a promise not kept (and the absence of the after-taste of coffee you are conditioned to experience at this time of day).
The promise part of the brand promise was not kept although the legal part were kept by exchanging the product. But, the legal part is not an emotional experience, the promise part is.
For a few weeks you buy another product. You may even buy at another shop and tell your friends about your experience. If you are an involved consumer, you go on the manufacturer’s or the retailer’s Google listing and post a testimonial.
What exactly is it that creates the negative feeling against the product or brand?
It’s not the taste – you hardly tasted anythingIt’s not the shop – although you are frustrated with the shop
It’s not the brand – you have been using this brand without trouble before
What angers or frustrates you is that you did not experience what you expected.
You expected a trouble-free experience from opening the box to finishing your breakfast. So you direct your frustration against the easiest target – usually the shop employee (who had nothing to do with the quality of the product).
People who complain about the treatment they received from a business do not complain about the business. They complain because their expectations were not met.
It is difficult, but, as a business owner, you should try and keep in mind that it is never personal. It’s not about you or your employees. It is about what people did or didn’t do which led to your customer’s expectations not being met.
The dissatisfied customer will complain about a lack of service, or about products that were unacceptable. All these reasons for complaints relate to only one thing: the customer did not receive what she expected.
Many business owners advertise their products or services in the most glowing terms with their minds fixed on getting potential customers to do business with them. What they forget is that they must meet the expectations they created.
That is one reason why testimonials or reviews can be a powerful marketing tool. It is not you who create the expectations, it is the people who did business with you before. Their testimonials create an image in the mind of other consumers about what they could expect from your products or services.
Testimonials on your website or Facebook Page is a good idea, but testimonials on Google itself, is more valuable. Register your business with a free business profile on Google. You can do it here
So, what people read about you on the Internet or hear from other people, help them decide whether they want to buy your product or service. What they read or hear about you is based on other people’s experience of your business. That experience has little to do with facts, or with you, and everything to do with how their expectations were met.
Take time to define for yourself what exactly the experience is you want to create for customers and, what the memory is that you want them to have of your business, products or services.
Then create your action plan of how you will attain that result.
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