Saturday, 7 June 2008

What does "A Complaint is a Gift" mean?

I just came across the above question on Yahoo! Answers and was sad to see that I didn't manage to respond to it in time, but I decided to email the person asking the question to clear up some of the mess that people actually responded with :-).

Below is the email I sent if any of you readers were actually wondering the same thing:

"... "A Complaint is a Gift" is a customer service management concept pioneered by Claus Moller, the Danish quality guru, back in the early 1990s and since developed into a bestselling book co-authored with Janelle Barlow. The 2nd edition of the book will be out on August 1st according to Amazon.

In short, it is a way of getting real customer feedback to help you improve your products and services. Research has shown that the customers who complain are very likely to remain customers if you treat them well, but are very likely to undermine your reputation to their peers if you do not. Winning a new client is substantially more expensive than retaining an existing one so finding out why your customers are unhappy, resolving their issues and using the knowledge gained to improve your overall quality means that you're getting something incredibly valuable for free: real market research rather than stilted focus groups and questionnaires filled out by people who just want to get it over with quickly and perhaps get a free pen in the process."

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