Danny Hooper Productions

Why I love unhappy customers

The bills have all been paid, the portable bars and decorations have been stored away until next December, and next week we will officially wrap up our 2015 Deck the Hall Ball Multi-Company Christmas Parties with an appreciation party (wings n’ beer at a local pub) for our much-appreciated and hardworking staff. We’re already well into the process of planning our 2016 parties, and part of that process involves surveying our customers (and staff) to see how we did last December. An online survey was sent last week, results have been pouring in, and I’m happy to say that…we failed to get straight A’s.

In fact, one respondent hated absolutely EVERYTHING about the event; the location of the venue, the actual venue, the ticket price, the drink prices, the food, the entertainment…even the complimentary shuttle ride home! Said he (or she) would ‘absolutely not’ be back again, and would ‘absolutely not’ be recommending the event to anyone. I’d go so far to bet, and the research will back me on this one, that this person will probably even tell at least 10 other people how dissatisfied they were with our Deck the Hall Ball Christmas Party.

Am I worried? Absolutely not.

Marketing research has identified two particularly interesting groups that respond to surveys – the ‘high positive’ and the ‘high negative.’ These are folks who are most likely to voice an opinion, either good or bad. They ‘high positives’ tend to be the most gushy, the ‘high negatives’ the most vociferous. And in my opinion, they’re both the least credible.

What I do appreciate are the respondents in between these two extremes, the surveys that provided believable and constructive feedback. I’m delighted to know where we went wrong; only then are we able to pick up our game and make improvements. Constructive feedback is GOLD, and absolutely necessary for the survival and, more importantly, the growth of any business.

Many businesses are afraid to survey their customers for fear of what they might learn, but I say it’s far better to tweak your business based on constant feedback from Customer Satisfaction Surveys than it is by looking at a lousy Yearend Financial Statement and trying to figure out what went wrong.