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Life Health > Running Your Business

Turn That Complaining Customer into an Advocate, Part 1

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It’s a mistake to think that because a customer has expressed dissatisfaction with your product or service, he or she will not come back to you. Handle the situation well, treat the person with respect, and you may find that some of your most vociferous complainers become your most loyal customers.

This means recognizing some essential truths about customers:

  • They want to be respected.
  • They want attention.
  • They want to be appreciated and recognized.
  • Most of all, they want to be understood.

Why do businesses lose customers? A survey with which you may be familiar asked customers why they changed supplier/vendor. Here are the results:

  • Developed a good relationship with another supplier (5 percent)
  • Found a less expensive product elsewhere (9 percent)
  • Was unhappy with service/product (18 percent)
  • Was unhappy with the poor attitude of the supplier (68 percent)

It is never easy to win new business, which is why we should nurture existing customers and try to minimize problems and inconvenience. Therefore, it’s a good idea to:

  • Make regular visits or calls—spotting trouble early on can help prevent it.
  • Reply to calls/queries as soon as possible.
  • Talk to customers—find out about them.
  • Keep customers well informed
  • Conduct regular reviews of your performance—see your service through their eyes.

Give customers what they want and need, and you will ensure that the lifeblood of your business keeps flowing.

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Jonathan Farrington is a globally recognized business coach, mentor, author, consultant and chairman of The JF Corporation and CEO of Top Sales Associates. For more information and tips from Jonathan, visit, or go to his blog at


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