The Most Dangerous Kind of Customer Service Feedback


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The tech world recently erupted when the customer service experience broke down and a startup company was caught extorting money from its clients. What could simply have been a misunderstanding or poor training on the part of an over-zealous sales person turned into an ugly customer service exchange as the CEO of the startup stepped in and actually defended the anti-customer actions that were taking place.

“We work with hundreds of new paying customers each quarter and we’ve only had a few complaints about it.

And somehow, that seems ok. This company seems to think that although they are growing and receiving good feedback from their customers, a few complaints are ok. Are a few complaints ok? Can we REALLY dismiss customer complaints as part of doing business? Or should our mentality be for 100% great customer service with focused customer experiences?

Customer Service Feedback

Hidden in our customer service feedback are dangerous pieces of information that can quickly erode customer confidence and severely limit our ability to retain customers and develop positive customer relationships.

A Sage study recently found that 88% of customers said they would be less likely to do business when their complaint went unanswered. Yet, too often our customer feedback processes are incomplete. We’ve learned to provide customers methods to give us feedback, but we haven’t yet learned how to use the feedback.


The above review is one of the most dangerous customer feedback reviews you’ll find. Why? Because the customer’s feedback focuses on the good, but demonstrates that there were some aspects of the service experience that were incomplete. It would be easy for any organization to focus on the good and take the overall score as a good indicator of their service experience. When you dig down into the review, you find that although there were good service experiences, it won’t force the customer to keep coming back for more.

In my line of business, service is measured independently on a scale of 0-5 stars. Anything below 5 stars is a disaster for my team and me.

Why? Because something broke. Something went wrong and I know that for that customer, there’s a possibility that next time, they may consider using the competition.

A common statistic in customer service says that for every 1 customer complaint expresses, there are 25 customer complaints that are not. In other words, ANY kind of customer complaint that is shared, is not a minor item, but is part of an overall service breakdown that is most likely common place in the organization.

5 Steps to Using Customer Service Feedback

I think that effectively using customer feedback can be done in 5 easy, quick steps:

  1. Provide customers with the opportunity to complain.
  2. Agree that a problem exists; never disagree or argue.
  3. Apologize AND tell the customer what steps will be taken.
  4. Resolve the complaint AND take action to prevent it from happening in the future.
  5. Show the customer what was done to fix the problem.

The customer is not the problem. You are.

We miss out on developing loyal customers today because we don’t truly appreciate customers. It’s easy to be happy when we make that initial sale. But we too often think that simply providing the product or service is enough for the customer.

We expect customer loyalty from our customers when we refuse to give any in return. True customer service and the essence of customer experience is connecting the level of commitment it takes from a customer to work with us with the level of commitment we display when supporting our customers. Incorporate effectively listening and responding to customer feedback into your day-to-day process in order to take your customer service experience to the next level and create loyal customers.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Flavio Martins
Flavio Martins is the VP of Operations and Customer Support at DigiCert, Inc., a leading provider of enterprise authentication services and high-assurance SSL certificates trusted by thousands of government, education, and Fortune 500 organizations. Flavio is an award-winning customer service blogger, customer service fanatic, and on a mission to show that organizations can use customer experience as a competitive advantage win customer loyalty. Blog: Win the Customer!


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