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Talking to the Hand That Feeds

Mike Techdirt offers some useful commentary on a ZDNet Australia article on how companies respond to complaint emails from customers. Turns out that about 50% of complaints emailed to companies end up in the void, all but virtually ignored.

At Fast Company, that’s certainly not the case organization wide. I personally respond to almost every email I receive from readers — whether positive or negative. And I strive to shepherd people through the company to solve the problems they’re having, holding my colleagues accountable to help whenever we’re able.

What are other companies doing? Responding to queries and sales calls, it seems. Which makes sense and doesn’t make sense all at the same time. As Mike writes:

It’s not particularly intelligent. Your customers are the ones who are already paying you, and thus, are much more likely to pay you again (or keep paying you, if it’s a service) than any new potential sale – though, not if you don’t respond to their complaints. Plus, pissing off an existing customer is almost guaranteed to get negative word of mouth going. While new sales prospects are always important, treating existing customers well should be seen as much more important.

Irate customers who are ignored won’t remain customers for long, but they will remain irate. Don’t ignore your customers.

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