The complaining customer doesn’t want a refund


Seriously good stuff from  Seth Godin

He wants a connection, an apology and some understanding. He wants to know why you made him feel stupid or ripped off or disrespected, and why it’s not going to happen again.

If you have a department that sends out form letters and refund coupons, what you’ve done is built the ability, at scale, to get rid of people who are giving you a second chance.

When the refund for the broken M&M’s or the artificially flavored nuts that should have been delicious, or the $20 inconvenience fee in exchange for the torture you put a frequent flyer through arrives, you’ve basically sent a form letter that says, “goodbye.”

Which is your choice, of course, but if you think that this expression of goodwill is going to be seen as goodwill, you’re wrong.

Try candor or inviting them to an online focus group. Perhaps try being human. Try giving them a chance to be a voice of the concerned, energetic customer, a voice that needs to be heard by people who actually make decisions.

This entry was posted in Observations, Too good to miss. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The complaining customer doesn’t want a refund

  1. Frank says:

    As long as a complaint represents an opportunity to learn about how a product or process could be improved, I agree.
    Unfortunately, filing complaints has become a business in itself in some areas. I’m thinking of those law firms that target delayed passengers in airports (based on airports’ departure info on the web) and talk them into filing a lawsuit against the airlines, resulting in hundreds of automatically generated, multi-page lawsuits every week … The vast majority of them doesn’t have the slightest chance of success (based on current legislation), but I guess it’s like spam – you send out a couple of thousand and the few successes are worth the effort…
    On the receiving end, this business model does however intensify the perception that complaints are just a nuisance.

  2. jb says:

    This Frank person sounds as if he knows what he’s talking about….

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