Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A New Dimension - Customer Rage

A national phone survey of 10,000 households was completed in September, 2011. The study was performed by the Center for Services Leadership at the W.P Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. The objective was to get an in-depth look at dissatisfaction.

The results of the study suggests that more than 50 million Americans had a problem with a product or service bought with the past year. The study is based on one conducted by the White House in 1976. This study is the fifth wave of that original study.

Some of the findings of the study are:
1. Complainant satisfaction has decreased 2% since the original study.
2. 90% of those complaining in the latest survey say they just wanted to be treated with dignity.
3. 40% believed they were treated with dignity.
4. The percent of respondents who reported experiencing a product or service problem has increased from 32% in the original study through a gradual climb to 45% in the most recent study.
5. The number of angry customers is high but the level of rage has dropped from 68% in the 2003 to 2011 to 60% in the new study.

In this case rage is noted as those customers who were either extremely or very upset.

Some other findings included the following:
1. The biggest peeve is customers lose time dealing with the problem. The average number of contacts required to resolve a problem was 4.4 contacts.
2. 61% of those who complain say the time spent complaining was worthwhile.
3. 88% of those in the new study shared their story with others.
4. 27% of those who complained posted the problem to the Internet.
5. More people posted good experiences to the the Internet that those who posted bad experiences by a margin of two-to-one.

The study indicated that spreading stories by social networking is more than 11 times greater than traditional word of mouth.

Ultimately 47% of those who complained felt they got nothing.

The bottom line is that customers appear to be complaining more and getting little satisfaction as a result of their complaining. Studies in the past have shown that ineffective handling of customer problems may be worse than not responding to complaints at all. On the other hand a well managed complaint can increase customer loyalty. The decision of which is better is obvious. This is not rocket science.

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