Four Things You Can Learn From an Unhappy Customer

improve my customer serviceDid you know that as a business owner, unhappy customers are one of the biggest learning tools in your arsenal?

While you want to make all your customers happy, you aren't going to learn a lot from your happy customers. Your unhappy customers, on the other hand, have much to teach you, so stay connected with them in order to improve your business and their experience with your business.

Connecting with unhappy customers

Before you can learn from your unhappy customers, though, you should make sure you're connecting with all your customers. It's a good idea to put yourself out there on social media and to use technology in general to ensure that your customers can reach you with their concerns.   One National Performance Review report notes that the best way to connect with customers is to ensure that they can easily leave feedback for your business, whether that be through phone surveys, online surveys, or just a business Facebook page.

What you can learn from your customers

Once you start connecting with your customers, pay particular attention to your unhappy customers, as they generally have the most to teach you. Here are just four of the main things you can learn from customers who are unhappy with your products or services, for whatever reason:

1. What's important to your customers

It's important to listen to the language your customers are using and to keep track of what customers are complaining about. Are they unhappy about shipping times and costs? Maybe they find your customer service or FAQ page lacking, or they can't figure out how to use your product most effectively?

Listening to the complaints of your customers and where they are trending will help you figure out what your target demographic finds important. It could be excellent products, lots of choices, customization options, or fantastic customer service. Letting unhappy customers tell you what's most important to them will tell you where you'll get the best return on your investment by making improvements to your products or services.

2. How to improve customer service

Often times, unhappy customers are unhappy with some aspect of your customer service. Again, listen to your customers to see where their complaints are trending. If, for instance, you get many complaints that customers have to wait on hold for a long time when contacting your business about a problem, then you may want to consider increasing the number of workers who handle your hotline so that you can take a higher call volume.

As you're listening to the complaints of unhappy customers, pay particular attention to what they think of your customer service. Maybe that isn't the problem at all, but chances are likely that your business could improve in at least one area of customer service.

3. How to improve your product

Of course, some customers may also be unhappy with your product. They may simply not have gotten what they were expecting, and you certainly can't satisfy everyone. But satisfying the greatest number of customers with your product should certainly be the goal. Yet again, it's important to follow the trends when it comes to customer complaints. Are your customers having trouble following assembly directions? Then you should look at clarifying them. Do many customers complain about the same part on your product breaking easily? Consider reengineering the piece so that it's sturdier.

Any time a customer is unhappy with your product, whether they're connecting with you through your customer hotline or through your Facebook page, get as much specific detail on what they dislike about your product as possible. The more detail you can get, the more information you'll have that will help you improve your product moving forward.

4. How to improve sales of your product

You can hire all the marketing experts you want, but the real experts on the marketing experience you provide to draw people to your product are your customers. Only those who are being targeted by your business and who are on the receiving end of your marketing efforts can tell you exactly what effect your marketing campaign is having on your customers.

Listen and Talk to your customers

Improving product sales is often as simple as talking to customers – including unhappy ones – about your marketing process. If you're coming across as too aggressive or consumers are offended by a part of your marketing campaign, they'll let you know. Then, you can make changes to ensure that you can sell more products with your marketing plan.

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CEO at 3Bug Media
Gary Shouldis is the founder of 3Bug Media, a web marketing company that helps businesses create 360 Marketing Strategies to dominate their market. His blog is read by over 20 thousand small business owners a month and has been featured in the N.Y. Times Small Business, Business Insider and Yahoo Small Business.
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