Why Do We Prefer to Have a Customer Whine Rather Than Smile?

Customer Satisfaction

Three things to remember when you are so focused on the negative versus the positive


“The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely the one who dropped it…” Lou Holtz

A message for small business owners

When I attended my very first We Care Officer Training at Toyota in Canada, it was pointed out to us that if a customer had a good experience they would tell three friends, and if they had a bad experience they would tell 20.  

Now thanks to Yelp, Google+, TripAdvisor, and all other review sites, complaints can now reach people all over the world when they search for our businesses.

In fact, when you search for just about any type of service on Google, the review sites are the ones that pop up first. While people are twice as likely to register complaints as they are to say something nice, the good news is that the power of reviews, whether good or bad, have the ability to reach an infinite number of people. 

For example, I recently I posted a TripAdvisor review for a hotel in Las Vegas, and within seven days, 1335 people had read it.  Fortunately for the hotel, it was a positive review, but good or bad the power of the message is equal.

So what is it about human nature that feeds off of the negative?

According to an article by Simona Rich, “the main cause of negative attitude is wrong beliefs about life or certain aspects of it. You see the life through your beliefs and if your beliefs are negative, you will see your life as unhappy or downright pointless.”

Now I understand why it is so prevalent, and why business people are so focused on the negative over the positive.

I think it is because as humans, we attach more emotion to bad experiences. An obvious example would be to consider how many times you have cried due to sadness versus crying in sheer joy. Some of you many have never experienced tears of joy, but all of us have experienced tears of sadness.

In our customer experience surveys we found:

Clients actually complain that if they do not get enough negative responses, the information is not valuable.

It must be because of the emotional attachment that drives us to take action, which determines an increase in value of a customer’s whining!

Next- Three things to remember when you are so focused on the negative versus the positive.


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