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Marketing, customer satisfaction and loyalty
Satisfied customers will follow you everywhere

A call for a revolution in customers – firms relationships

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You may remember the post published two ago about managing expectations to increase customer satisfaction. In that post I also mentioned a recent negative experience with Coolblue. The guys at Coolblue proved once again their professionalism by handling the complaint perfectly and actually increasing my loyalty even more. Here is how.

The complaint handling paradox

It’s probably been mentioned already here but I can’t repeat it enough. Handling complaints well will lead to even higher satisfaction of your customers. Nothing better can happen in terms of positive word-of-mouth and loyalty (this article is actually a piece of evidence).

The complaint handling paradox says actually that a customer’s satisfaction will be higher after a complaint has been handled well than if the product had been satisfactory from the first time. Yet it doesn’t mean that you have to screw on purpose to have the possibility to redress afterwards.

Coolblue’s best practice

Coolblue definitely didn’t fulfill its promises in terms of delivery and I gently made of it, stressing that choosing bpost may have been a better option to get the delivery right. Two days after the delivery was eventually completed, I got a card (see picture below) from Kim, the Coolblue representative. Kim was good enough to remember that joke and make a proper use of it in the postcard she sent me. This is definitely world-class service. I can’t think of anything better than that to foster loyalty, positive word-of-mouth and maximal customer satisfaction

It’s time to start the marketing revolution

Satisfying customers has never been so hard. Yet there is one thing you can leverage and that can have a big effect. The level of service tends today to be very homogenous. Too much actually. Procedures are followed blindly by employees, firms and putting more and more pressure on employees and customers to rip maximum profits. The human touch tends to disappear. What I’m writing seems to me to be very important. Please allow me to repeat it.

Firms tend to eradicate humanity and personal initiatives from their processes. This is serious and as a marketer I find it just unacceptable. We are not robots. We are human beings, made of blood and flesh, with feelings and emotions. As a customer I value speaking to other human beings and being rewarded by other persons. This is a call for more humanity in the firm-consumer relationships. This is a call to give their freedom back millions of employees, to unchain them from silly procedures.

Please realize that people can feel responsible. Just give them a few rules and let them decide what to do to please customers.

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Dr. Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is the founder of IntoTheMinds. He specializes in e-commerce, retail and logistics. He is also a research fellow in the marketing department of the Free University of Brussels and acts as a coach for several startups and public organizations. He holds a PhD in Marketing, a MBA in Finance, and a MSc in Chemistry. He can be contacted by email, Linkedin or by phone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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