Customer Complaints in the Age of Google

customer complaints

In the book “How to win customers and keep them for life”, Michael LeBouef shares the following: A typical business hears from only 4 percent of its dissatisfied customers. The other 96 percent just quietly go away and 91 percent will never come back.

That represents a serious financial loss for companies who don’t deal with disgruntled customers, and a tremendous gain to those that do.

In the past, the 4 percent who are not willing to simply walk away when they feel they have not received the service they experienced may have asked to speak to the manager, filled out a complaint form, gone to the customer service desk or sent a letter to the managing director or owner of the business.

If you have ever left a complaint before you will know that not every business gets back to you. There are also those businesses that instead of trying to understand the cause of the problem look to defend through attacking you and the reason for the complaint, leaving a bitter taste in your mouth.

Now there are far easier ways for disgruntled customers to leave their opinions about businesses and how poorly they have performed, putting pressure on said businesses to view and act up on these complaints because they are made in a public forum.

Sure, you have probably all witnessed complaints and negative comments on social media sites where somebody sends a tweet, or writes a post saying how poorly they have been treated or how the service they received by no means reached their level of expectations.

Well during the release of Google’s latest smartphone, the Google Nexus 4, there have been problems with delivery and this has caused more than one complaint and some severe negative criticism globally across the internet. Rather than bombarding help lines, one savvy user took to the internet and leveraged Google products: Goole docs, Google sites, Gmail and Google+, to highlight the growing concern about communication from the company around the internet.

In short, a basic website was setup, including a register where customers who purchased the Google Nexus phone and were awaiting delivery could leave their details and outline their own problem. The site also included a chronological list of communications sent to and from the MD of Google in the UK, Dan Cobley. Communications begin on the 14/12/12 and are updated when new information is posted. The site also posts updates from the various news outlets that have picked up the story such as: Thenextweb, Gizmodo, the Guardian, techcrunch and businessinsider to name a few.

The original letter to Google can be found here

The majority of people are not going to have the same level of skills as Andy, the man responsible for setting up the register, or the acumen to put together what comes across as a structured and well thought out campaign to get Google, one of the largest organisations on the planet, to take notice and respond.

That being said it is not that difficult to set up, Google has provided everyone the tools to do it. Ironically if you don’t know how to use them then you can simply go to another member of the Google product family, YouTube, search on how to set up a Google website and you will find dozens upon dozens of videos that walk you through exactly how to do it. Then you can use Google tools to share the website across the internet so it has the potential to go viral, as is the case with this!

Credit where credit is due

Not only is credit due to Andy for the campaign but also to Dan Cobley – MD of Google UK for the way in which he personally has taken the time to respond and manage the situation. And if you look into the timings of the responses these also land over the weekend ratifying the fact that Google are working evenings and weekends to rectify the situation.

“We are all working through the nights and weekends to resolve this issue, including the seven points you raise. I can offer an unreserved apology for our service and communication failures in this process. I am optimistic that we will be able to share some positive news shortly, but I do not want to cause any more disappointment by making a commitment until we are 100% sure we can deliver on it. “

We all know words count for very little and it is the action of fulfilling the orders that will rectify the situation but by being upfront and setting expectations that there is no immediate fix, Google are managing the situation well and showing that they do care and that they do function to serve their users. They have admitted to failing the customer and are desperately trying to set it right.

Any Business can be Publicly Criticised

If Google can get called out from behind the ivory towers there is no reason why any business, no matter how big or how small, can receive the same treatment.

So if you can’t or don’t deliver on what you say you are going to deliver, be prepared for the repercussions – Google style!