There are many delicate issues in e-commerce, but they all tend to converge into a pain that can keep any manager up at night: complaints. But however difficult it may be to manage them, it is necessary to see them as an opportunity, not a threat. Without a complaint, it is impossible to perform a recovery service (so-called service recovery, according to marketing experts), which translates into solving the problems of dissatisfied customers, turning them into loyal customers.
A survey by the Data Popular Institute conducted in August of this year on 2,000 people from 100 cities in all states showed that 52% of young people between the ages of 18 and 25 use the Internet to file complaints with companies. Among the oldest, in the age group over 45, the use of this channel drops to 5%, and the most used is “word of mouth” with 59%.
So we realize how much the scenario has changed from traditional retail. If before the popularization of e-commerce, people commented on their dissatisfaction with the store only with their families and friends, today this reach is increased and affects the sale itself. After all, no consumer dares to buy from a company full of unresolved complaints, or even one that takes a long time to resolve cases.
In the 4.0 era, which has placed the consumer as the protagonist of the story throughout the purchase journey, online complaints have profound consequences for businesses because they expose their main weaknesses in the clearest possible way. Of course, nobody wants to expose themselves so much.
But there is nowhere to escape: new generations are born empowered when it comes to consumption. They own the internet and know exactly how to demand good service and understand their rights, so companies need to understand that good complaint management is essential to the survival of online business.
We still see many e-commerce companies whose reputations are at risk because of this. But these are not always hopeless cases.
Researchers have emphasized the key role of trust in promoting relational exchanges; they position this feeling as one of the most powerful marketing tools because it acts as a fundamental ingredient for developing lasting relationships between consumers and organizations. Therefore, satisfaction as a central element, which links consumer perceptions of complaint management with future attitudes and behavior of a particular company, is valuable and should be taken seriously.
But, at the end of the day, how do you get the modern consumer to perceive the company’s business as fair and satisfactory after the frustration that caused them to complain on social networks or on Reclame Aqui?
First, it is necessary to understand that the customer uses these spaces when he cannot solve the problem in the company’s own service channels. Therefore, it is essential to visit the indicators in the area and examine carefully to understand where the bottleneck is: whether the channels are sufficient, whether the team is well trained, or whether the problem is related to technological limitations.
It is worth mentioning that the better the user experience at different stages of the interaction, such as efficiency, reliability and speed of the process, the higher the chances of the consumer to overlook the malfunction. At this point, technology combined with a good customer crisis management strategy can help create accurate and intelligent processes that will surprise the customer. It is not allowed to be wrong twice: he has already had a bad initial impression and wants to make an effort to solve his problem.
Many businesses miss out on great opportunities to get closer to customers because they don’t understand that it’s not just about cash back or a discount on their next purchase. Complaints management involves speed, flexibility, fairness and civility – as well as innovation in internal culture. Everyone needs to agree on what it means to resolve a complaint and accept the cause.
Ending grievances is impossible, but creating strategies for better surprises is not. This is my bet.
Marcelo Dantas, CEO of Estrela10.