Do You Speak Up When You Have a Poor Customer Experience? It’s Time You do!

Tell me if any of these sound familiar…

  • You order a steak medium rare and it comes more to the medium well side. Rather than telling your server that your meal is not done as ordered, you eat it, pay the bill and say good night.
  • You call your doctor’s office to check the results of a test. You are put on hold and after about 3 minutes someone else picks up and asks, “How can I help you?” You explain again…and wait again. Another few minutes pass and someone else comes on the phone and bluntly announces your test was fine, the doctor said he’ll see you in six months for your re-test. “Okay, thank you,” you say and hang up.
  • You arrive at the grocery store armed with your shopping list for the week. Walking into the store there are zero shopping carts in the holding. You walk back outside into the rain to find a spare cart and notice tons of them scattered throughout the parking lot. You grab one, and head back in walking directly past the manager’s desk….and say nothing.

As customer service and experience experts we all share how to create positive, loyalty building customer experiences. But what do we do when we are on the receiving end of a poor experience? How do we respond? Do we say something to register our disappointment with the experience, or do we walk away in silence?

I confess I am guilty. There are plenty of experiences that disappoint me as a customer and I walk away saying nothing. I believe that is wrong of me…and of you if you are guilty as well!complaint-reporting

According to survey work by Customer Care Measurement & Consulting (CCMC) a whooping 63% of customers believe that complaining gets them nothing!

rage-coverAnd it gets worse! Imaging this statistic from the 2015 Customer Rage Report by CCMC, 93% of us just want to be treated with dignity when sharing our complaint. So how many of us get that desired dignity? Just 32%! Is it any wonder we hesitate to complain?

This needs to stop!

As customers we need to speak up when the experience we receive is less than desired. I see the eyes rolling from those of you who rightfully believe you’d be complaining ever day, 8 times per day! I get it. And yet, complaining is the best way to find out what a company is really made of. Will they handle that complaint to your satisfaction and work to regain your trust and loyalty? You won’t know that until you complain!

I truly believe those of us who work, serve, and lead in the customer service/experience industry have an obligation to raise our concerns as customers when we are not satisfied with our experience. If we truly believe in the power of outstanding customer experiences, why wouldn’t we help those who serve us by speaking up when they fall flat?

Make a commitment today to call out poor experiences when you live them. Do it with grace and a sincere desire to improve the state of customer experience in your world. If we all do this, maybe the 2017 Customer Rage Report will finally move the needle towards greater customer experiences, satisfaction, and loyalty.

Click this link to receive your free copy of the 2015 Customer Rage Report.


Bill Gessert is the President of the International Customer Service Association (ICSA). The ICSA is the only non-profit professional organization dedicated to the education, professional development, and recognition of customer service/experience professionals and the organizations they serve.


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