The consumer complaint behavior, CCB in short, is an area of research which deals with the identification and analysis of all the aspects involved in the consumer reaction to a product or a service failure and the consequent perceived dissatisfaction. A growing interest for CCB starts appearing toward the middle of the '60s as a particular aspect of a general attention for consumer behaviors and attitudes. Consumer satisfaction, dissatisfaction and consumer complaint behavior, in particular, are three distinct, but highly correlated subjects investigated by marketing and consumer studies.
Real marketing problems can be considered at the origin of these studies. The growing competition in the market, the developing consumerism, the importance given to quality, performance and satisfaction, the emphasis given to customers, considered at the Centre of a product or of a service, bring researchers to inquiry about the complex mechanisms which determine customer satisfactions or dissatisfaction and what are the consequent consumer behaviors.
At the same time, as the research is deeply rooted in real life, the findings of the studies are aimed at identifying and suggesting managerial and practical solutions directly applicable to markets or services. As far as CCB research is concerned, the main aspects investigated can be summarized according to the some questions. The proposed list is anything but exhaustive: Why do people complain? Why do people not complain? To whom do people complain? Facing an unsatisfactory product or service, what are the possible reactions available for a customer? Are there any differences in CCB according to the product or the service investigated? Being a Customer Relationship Manager of a luxurious hotel in Penang I received a mail from Mr. Stanley. He and his family stayed at my hotel last week. He has complained that the quality of food served was not satisfactory, hotel staff very impolite and not helpful and his computer notebook and some cash was missing from his hotel room. Also he has criticized the hotel staff members that they do not listen to his complaint patiently. Firstly, I will send Mr. Stanley a letter of apologize and tell him about we will take further step even when full resolution is likely to take longer because fast acknowledgment remains very important and this action helps to build rapport with customer, the rst step in rebuilding a bruised relationship. In this letter I would not argue with Mr. Stanley and the goal should be to gather facts to reach a mutually acceptable solution, not to win a debate. Arguing gets in the way of listening and seldom diffuses anger. Next, I will show that I understand the problem from his point of view.
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Seeing situations through his eyes is the only way to understand what he thinks has gone wrong and why he is upset. Service personnel should avoid jumping to conclusions with his interpretations. Besides that, I have to clarify the truth and sort out the cause. Mr. Stanley says my hotel staffs are impolite, the food served is not satisfied and hotel members didn’t listen to his complaint, it may result from inefficiency of service, misunderstanding by Mr. Stanley, or the misbehavior of a hotel staff or third party. If I’ve done something wrong, I will apologize immediately. The more Mr.
Stanley can forgive me, the less he will expect to be compensated. I would not be defensive because acting defensively may suggest that my hotel has something to hide or is reluctant to explore the situation fully. Furthermore, I will provide Mr. Stanley the bene? t of the doubt because not all customers are truthful and not all complaints are justifed. However, he should be treated as though they have a valid complaint until clear evidence to the contrary emerges. Because Mr. Stanley miss some cash money and computer notebook from his hotel room so careful investigation is warranted.
Because the amount involved is not small, it may be worth haggling over a refund or other compensation. However, it’s still a good idea to check records to see if there is a past history of dubious complaints by the same customer. Propose the steps needed to solve the problem. When instant solutions aren’t possible, I will tell Mr. Stanley how my hotel plans to precede shows that corrective action is being taken. It also sets expectations about the time involved and I should be careful not to overpromise. I have to keep Mr. Stanley informed of progress because nobody likes being left in the dark and it may cause uncertainty breeds anxiety and stress. People tend to be more accepting of disruptions if they know what’s going on and receive periodic progress reports.
Moreover, I have to consider compensation. When Mr. Stanley do not receive the service outcomes he believes he has paid for or have suffered serious inconvenience and loss of time and money because the service that hotel provide are failed to deliver to him, I might offer an unconditional money back guarantee and tell Mr. Stanley if at any point during the search process he is unhappy with progress, simply address the fact with us and if we are still not 100 percent satis? ed after that discussion, I will cheerfully and unconditionally refund every cent he has paid as a retainer. No quibble, no hassle, guaranteed period. This type of recovery strategy may also reduce the risk of legal action by an angry customer. Service guarantees often lay out in advance what such compensation will be, and hotel should ensure that all guarantees are met.
Whatever is promised in the guarantee must be totally unconditional, and there should not be any element of surprise for the customer. The guarantee has to easy to understand and communicate to Mr. Stanley so that he is clearly aware of the bene? ts that can be gained from the guarantee. Meaningful to Mr. Stanley in that the guarantee is for something important to him and the compensation should be more than adequate to cover the service failure.
Guarantee has made must easy to invoke It should be easy for the customer to invoke the guarantee and it also have to easy to collect on because If a service failure occurs, the customer should be able to easily collect on the guarantee without any problems. Lastly, guarantee has to be credible and be believable. Persevere to regain Mr. Stanley goodwill. When Mr. Stanley has been disappointed, one of the biggest challenges is to restore his confidence and preserve the relationship for the future. Perseverance may be required to defuse is anger and to convince him that actions are being taken to avoid a recurrence of the problem.
Truly exceptional recovery efforts can be extremely effective in building loyalty and referrals. Also I will check the service delivery system and pursue eminence. Because Mr. Stanley has left, I should check to determine whether the service failure was caused by accidental mistakes or system defects. I need to take advantage of every complaint from Mr. Stanley to perfect the whole service system. Even if the complaint is found to be a result of a misunderstanding by Mr. Stanley, this implies that some part of my communication system is ineffective.
But while we discussed the importance of professional complaint handling and service recovery, we have to acknowledge that not all complaints are honest. When rms have generous service recovery policies or offer guarantees, there is always the fear that some customers may take advantage. Also, not all complaining customers are right or reasonable in their behavior, and some may actually be the cause of complaints by other customers. We refer to such people as jaycustomers. Every service has its share of jaycustomers. Jaycustomers are undesirable. At best, an rm should avoid attracting them in the st place, and at worst, a ? rm needs to control or prevent their abusive behavior. Let us ? rst describe the main types of jaycustomers before we discuss how to deal with them. De? ning a problem is the rst step in resolving it, so let’s start by considering the different types of jaycustomers. I’ve identi? ed seven broad categories. The Cheat - There are many ways in which customers can cheat service ? rms. Cheating ranges from writing compensation letters with the sole purpose of exploiting service recovery policies and cheating on service guarantees, to in? ating or faking insurance claims and “ward robing”.
Those customers who always wishes to payless or not to pay, these may be like travelling in public transport freely, or not paying restaurant bills and others - firms to be prevented from such customers use many tips because if company is not taking actions against such people; other customers would also have intentions to behave in such manners. The Rulebreaker - Those customers who don’t obey rules of company or country like breaking traffic rules - even though it costs them sometimes a lot but they do because they feel pleasure in behaving such manners.
Those customers who always makes hurdle for company like pouring water in ATM, writing on walls, in cybercafes deleting windows files or other software. The Deadbeat - These are not like thief but close to them, these are those who pays the amount but after creating such problems for company, like I’ll pay tomorrow, they know that they have to pay but they try to delay as much as they can. Encouraging customer feedback provides an important means of increasing customer satisfaction and retention.
It is an opportunity to get into the hearts and minds of the customer. In all but the worst instances, complaining customers are indicating that they want to continue their relationship with the firm, but they are also indicating that all is not well and that they expect the company to make things right. Here, service firms need to develop effective strategies to recover from service failures so they can maintain customer goodwill. That is vital for the long-term success of the company.
Having professional and generous service recovery systems does not mean “the customer is always right” and that the rm is open to customer abuse. Rather, it is important for the bene? t of all too effectively deal with jaycustomers.
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