You’ll never know why

Word of Mouth

Thanks for the invitation for your event but I just won’t be going.

I don’t want to shop in your store any more and I won’t be recommending that anyone else goes there.

I will probably ever so subtly actually discourage people from going to your store whereas before now I would have done the opposite.

The problem is you will never quite know why ..

The thing is you treated a good friend of someone that I know really well quite badly, which left them really upset. I know they are reasonable people so I trust the stories that I’ve heard and I believe that the poor experience was genuine and not exaggerated.

From my point of view this mightn’t be reasonable or logical but that’s often the way the world works.

Reputation is a funny thing – it takes ages to build a good reputation and it take seconds to destroy it.

Next time you have an issue with a customer consider carefully how you deal with them as it can potentially impact on many more than just them.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency in Ireland with offices in Cork and Dublin

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10 Responses to “You’ll never know why”

  1. JW McCabe Says:

    *Reputation is a funny thing – it takes ages to build a good reputation and it take seconds to destroy it.*

    This is why I think more marketing/strategy firms should teach their clients online and in-house reputation management.

    Many businesses and people create bad habits of online and customer facing. They get so caught up in the day to day running , they miss the most important part of business.

    *The Customer Experience!*

    I would not operate a business now, without a form of in house and online reputation management. There are many devices now that a businesses can buy,that give direct feedback and the data can be be ran through a rather inexpensive piece of software and you can chart the ”experience factor” predict trends etc..

    It’s a rather simple but not obvious solution.

    Also, W-O-M advertising is very important! But sometimes there is no pleasing people and posting your monthly satisfaction rating in- house and on SM; is an excellent way to tell your customer base, We listen, We know, We care. About your Experience.

    With this it also gives their Customer Base a forum for resolution! Within bounds of reason of course.. Some people just take the piss and shouldn’t be placated too.

    Because if they are given carte’ blanche, it devalues the service to the other customers, who may have not made such an unreasonable fuss.

    I look at a business or any type of service as a village and decorum must be recognised. Most ”complaints’ are small or innocuous issues, that can be resolved with an acceptance of the situation and an agreement to resolve or produce equal results.

    I am not advocate of apologising for anything, that did not have have malicious intent. Also, if the customer doesn’t say anything! The reputation management device; creates a platform for discussion and gives meek or undecided people a voice, instead allowing them to fester anger or disappointment and then besmirch the business reputation, through interactions with friends and colleagues.

    That’s my 2 pence…

  2. Mark O'Hagan Says:

    I feel sorry for businesses in this regard, because as a race, we Irish are very reluctant to complain about anything.
    How many of us have been out for a meal, which has been substandard, but when the waiter asks “How is your meal?” a response of “fine, thank you” is usually the reply given.
    Once you have safely exited the restaurant, you will invariably comment ” I’m not going back there again”

    Form the point of view of the restaurant, they have been told that their customer (you) are happy. If that is the case, then why would they feel the need to change what they are doing? By not complaining you are actually doing a disservice to everyone involved. Future customers will share a similar unsatisfactory experience. The restaurant will continue on its merry way and steadily lose customers. This will be due to the fact that while we did not complain directly to them, we will inevitably pass on some negative comments to our friends, who in turn will also spread bad word of mouth about the restaurant.

    Business would be well advised to remember the 6 most important words in the English language: “I admit I made a mistake” as well as the well worn phrase, “nobody ever won an argument with a customer”.
    This does not mean that the customer is always right. There will be a very small minority who will complain no matter what. There was a very good programme on Channel 4 earlier this year about the scourge of Trip Advisor. Businesses who had received negative reviews asked for the people who had posted the reviews to give them another go and to see what improvements they had made.

    Ironically, despite the businesses taking on board the negative criticism, and making changes to accommodate them, the same people posted more negative comments the second time around. The principal reason for this seemed to be that they were not going to change their mind no matter what was done for them and they felt that their opinion had to stand no matter what.

    • Greg Canty Says:

      Hi Mark – you make a really good point and argument for complaining.

      I have another perspective on it – when I go out for a meal it’s often to relax and have a good time with my other half or with friends. When you complain it introduces a tension and a level of discomfort to the occasion, which often you just don’t feel like doing. It’s not my obligation to complain. If the experience is really bad I could very well say something.

      It’s not my job to improve a business by pointing out flaws – often you run the risk of the “complaint” not being received in the manner it was meant and then your occasion is totally shot – the night is then all about the terrible meal and not your time with your friends.

      I don’t agree with burying a place online when in earnest they were trying to find out how your meal was. This is appropriate when the experience is woeful and you know complaining is a waste of time.

      It’s a tricky one!!

      • JW McCabe Says:

        I need to teach the motherland to complain Southern Style!

        Watch this: Waitress: Ma’am is everything ok?

        Patron: Say in a (normal voice)You know these drinks are fabulous and you are so attentive, but motion to tell a secret:get her/him close, this steak came out Medium and I ordered medium rare.

        Waitress: Would you like us to fix that for you? Patron: Of course.. can you get the kitchen to put that through quickly.I don’t want to finish behind my friends.

        It’s the art of honest deflection!

        Unless, it the server, then you go to the manager…

        Manager: Yes, is there something I can help you with?

        Patron: Thank you so much for coming over here too see us, we know you are busy.

        Manager: Sure..

        Patron: I would like to make you aware privately, that our server is having a bad day and the poor dear is just,trying to stay afloat.

        Manager: Oh, I see.. I am sorry your service was bad.

        Patron: We all have bad days, and we understand but you understand that we will not be paying for service, this time.

        Obviously, it varies person to person but it seems to be the format!

        Also,with my previous post I still stand by the reputation management aspect.

      • Greg Canty Says:

        nice way of complaining Jenni

      • Mark O'Hagan Says:

        Hi Greg,
        I was using the example of a meal in a restaurant to highlight our reluctance to complain. The general thrust of my argument, which applies to any business is: If the business is not getting honest feedback from its customers in areas where it is falling short, how is it expected to improve matters?


      • Greg Canty Says:

        You make a good point about complaints.

        The blog was about an issue that was handled very badly and the negativity about that incident spread above and beyond the people involved to the detriment of the business

  3. Charlotte Jehanno Says:

    Hello Greg, hello Mark,
    This is exactly the dilemma that I’m facing. I went to this restaurant twice and although the food is delicious, it is really badly delivered. The staff has no manner and spoils everything..Last week, I had 8 clients from Belgium who selected this restaurant. When I heard them talking about their project, I gave them a gentle warning about the poor quality of service as I didn’t want to put them off. They came back very frustrated. They refused to pay € 95 service charge as they found that restaurant didn’t deserve it!
    If I use Trip Advisor, will my comments be taken seriously ? or shall I write down my comments to the chef who, besides being an arrogant person, is truly gifted?

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