19 December 2014 427 words, 2 min. read

12 years dedicated to protecting consumers … voluntarily

By Pierre-Nicolas Schwab PhD in marketing, director of IntoTheMinds
I had the pleasure to meet two weeks ago another customer satisfaction hero, the destiny of whom was tightly linked to that of Frédéric Klotz (read his interview). The man I met is Joël Guillon, someone I’ve indirectly known for […]

I had the pleasure to meet two weeks ago another customer satisfaction hero, the destiny of whom was tightly linked to that of Frédéric Klotz (read his interview).

The man I met is Joël Guillon, someone I’ve indirectly known for years through the complaint resolution forum he launched in 2002 : LesArnaques.com

Joël is one of those knights who fights against bad companies’ practices and who shares his knowledge and his time to help other consumers.

100, 1000, 10000

LesArnaques forum is visited by some 10000 visitors daily who post 100 new complaints and some 1000 messages a day.

It’s far away from the early stats of 10 years ago when there were only 1000 visitors a month. Joel’s motivation and dedication helped him grow this forum to make it one of the biggest (if not the biggest) in Europe where dissatisfied customers and companies can meet virtually to resolve complaints and see redress.

How to manage customer complaints? The advice of Prof. Moshe Davidow

Managing customer complaints requires following a few rules. We interviewed a world reference in this field: Prof. Davidow. He has written several articles of reference in the field (this one for example). In the sound extract below, he gives us some fascinating insights.

The best place to study complaint handling practices

I’ve used the forum for my academic work for several years now. It’s a very rich source of data to study interactions between angry customers and firms and see how the situation evolves and what firms do to handle complaints. What you can see there is that forms sometimes ue very classic recipes (like apologies for instance) and sometimes go completely wild and insult the customers.

How firms actually behave in reality is so far away from the textbooks that it inspired me a new paper (currently in writing) on this phenomenon.

screenshot of the "Les Arnaques" forum

A screenshot of the “Les Arnaques” forum (now closed)

A hero of consumers defense

Joel is a pretty secret person, not easy to contact and he has good reasons for that. The forum helped unveil scams, frauds whose victims were consumers like you and me. Obviously crooks weren’t delighted and Joel got threatened. He also gets sued (as president of the non-profit association behind LesArnaques) on a regular basis.

You may wonder what’s his motivation to continue. He admitted that he had wanted to give up several times but the ongoing legal actions prevent him from dissolving the association. But keeping the same motivation during 14 years is just admirable.



Posted in Marketing, Research.

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