Customer complaint behaviour
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- Read the Office of Fair Trading's information, advice and assistance for business owners, operators and licensees about issues that may arise during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Customers are often uncomfortable making direct complaints. If a customer is dissatisfied with your business, they will often complain to others — colleagues, family, friends and your business competitors — before they complain to you.
Understanding customer complaint behaviour, including how and why they complain, can help you minimise negative perceptions about your business.
Customer complaint statistics
Market research tells us that for every customer complaint a business receives, many more customers have valid complaints they don't bother to tell you about. Research also shows that dissatisfied customers will tell more people about their experience than a happy customer.
The easier it is for a customer to give you direct feedback about their experiences, the more likely they are to complain to you — rather than a friend — and give you an opportunity to improve.
Complaints using social media
Social media allows dissatisfied customers to reach large online audiences with their complaints. Websites, blogs and chat sites dedicated to business complaints are increasingly popular vehicles for dissatisfied customers.
You may choose to include site monitoring in your complaints handling policy — especially if you run aspects of your business online — so you can keep track of what customers are saying about you.
Avoiding customer complaints
Understanding customer rights and responsibilities — including policies on guarantees, warranties and refunds, and unfair business practices — will help you avoid complaints.
Another way to avoid complaints is to practice good customer service — from initial customer contact through to resolving disputes.
- Find out how customers can make a complaint about your business through government channels.
- Learn how to resolve disputes with other businesses and where to lodge a complaint.