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Do we live in a complaints culture?

Have you noticed that people complain more than they used to, or is it just me? (Uh Oh. I am becoming a Grumpy Old Man, aren’t I?) Do we live in a complaints culture? Does it matter and how does it affect you and your business?

During a recent stay in an hotel I noticed a series of incidents where guests complained. It was a well appointed four star hotel, serving great food. We were lucky enough to go to Wimbledon this year and again I noticed people complaining about a wide variety of things.

We recently had BT Infinity Business Broadband installed in our office.  The router arrived in the post a couple of days before the agreed installation date. The engineer rang to let us know that he had started the job and would be with us shortly. He was with us for 25 minutes , called me Sir and patiently answered all of my questions. I Tweeted my satisfaction and came across …which is BT’s public customer care Twitter account. At the time of writing, they have posted 855,000+ Tweets and they make interesting reading, partly because the whole thing is in the public domain. I am impressed that BT has the strength of character to do this.

Clearly, challenges arise, no matter what business you work for or own. According to author Ken Blanchard, “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” None of us like to receive complaints, do we? Whether the number of unhappy customers is rising or falling, the answer is to have systems in place to handle them and then to calmly and systematically resolve each issue, one at a time.

There are of course Career Complainers out there. In addition, everyone has bad days and it may be that a minor issue escalates due to a tired customer (which happens in hotels, due to the stress of travel).

I am interested in this issue professionally, as I am a marketing consultant and trainer. Customer care is crucial within every business, isn’t it? Finding and retaining customers is what marketing is all about. Having found a customer, my advice is to bind them to your chest with hoops of steel.

Does your enterprise receive more complaints than it used to? Do you take complaints personally? How do you handle them? Feedback, as always, is welcome (but no complaints, please…)

Nigel Temple

Author Nigel Temple

Nigel Temple is a marketing consultant, speaker, trainer and writer. Topics include: AI / ChatGPT, Marketing strategy, Digital marketing, SEO, Copywriting, Mailchimp. Nigel is available to hire for a consultancy meeting, training workshop, speaking event or marketing project. Email: Or call Nigel on: 01628 773128

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