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A Complaint Is a Gift: Recovering Customer Loyalty When Things Go Wrong [Kindle Edition]

Janelle Barlow , Claus Møller , Tony Hsieh
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The first edition of A Complaint Is a Gift introduced the revolutionary notion that customer complaints are not annoyances to be dodged, denied, or buried but are instead valuable pieces of feedback – in fact, they’re your best bargain in market research. Customer complaints can give businesses a wake-up call when they’re not achieving their fundamental purpose: meeting customer needs. Complaints provide a feedback mechanism that can help organizations rapidly and inexpensively strengthen products, service style, and market focus. Most importantly, complaints create a moment of truth when a customer who is deciding whether to return can be made even more loyal.

Using numerous real-life examples, A Complaint Is a Gift shows precisely how to handle complaints in a way that brings benefit to your organization and satisfaction to your customers – even when you have to say no. The second edition features two brand-new chapters on receiving and responding to complaints of the Internet; a new section on how to deal with and take advantage of complaints that are directed at your personally; and, turning the tables, a section on how you can complain constructively and effectively. And throughout, the text has been heavily revised, with a wealth of new examples, tools, and strategies.


Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Complaints--the Key to Success

The first edition of A Complaint Is a Gift introduced a revolutionary notion: customer complaints are a valuable feedback mechanism that can help organizations rapidly and inexpensively strengthen products, service style, and market focus. In fact, they're the best bargain around in market research.

Using numerous real-life examples, Janelle Barlow and Claus Møller show precisely how to handle complaints to bring benefit to your organization and satisfaction to your customer--even when you have to say no. The second edition features a new chapter on receiving and responding to Internet complaints; a new chapter on how to deal with and take advantage of complaints that are directed at you personally; and, turning the tables, a section on how you can complain constructively and effectively. And throughout, the text has been heavily revised, with a wealth of new examples, tools, and strategies.

"The first edition of this book was a jewel. This new, completely updated version is even better. The new examples are simultaneously instructive, touching, and entertaining. Research summaries are worth the read alone. They will shake up anyone who doubts the power of listening to your customers."
--Jim Kouzes, coauthor of The Leadership Challenge®

"This book is a gift in itself. The thinking is fresh; the logic, irrefutable; the examples of how to deliver excellent customer service, outstanding. Janelle Barlow and Claus Møller have a uniquely practical perspective on creating shareholder value through putting the voice of the customer at the heart of business strategy."
--Craig Dinsell, Executive Vice President of Human Resources, Oppenheimer Funds Inc.

"The new edition provides even more straight talk on communicating effectively with customers and practical advice for changing employee attitudes toward complaints."
--John Goodman, Vice Chairman, TARP Worldwide

From the Back Cover

Complaints--the Key to Success

The first edition of A Complaint Is a Gift introduced a revolutionary notion: customer complaints are a valuable feedback mechanism that can help organizations rapidly and inexpensively strengthen products, service style, and market focus. In fact, they're the best bargain around in market research.

Using numerous real-life examples, Janelle Barlow and Claus Møller show precisely how to handle complaints to bring benefit to your organization and satisfaction to your customer--even when you have to say no. The second edition features a new chapter on receiving and responding to Internet complaints; a new chapter on how to deal with and take advantage of complaints that are directed at you personally; and, turning the tables, a section on how you can complain constructively and effectively. And throughout, the text has been heavily revised, with a wealth of new examples, tools, and strategies.

"The first edition of this book was a jewel. This new, completely updated version is even better. The new examples are simultaneously instructive, touching, and entertaining. Research summaries are worth the read alone. They will shake up anyone who doubts the power of listening to your customers." --Jim Kouzes, coauthor of The Leadership Challenge® "This book is a gift in itself. The thinking is fresh; the logic, irrefutable; the examples of how to deliver excellent customer service, outstanding. Janelle Barlow and Claus Møller have a uniquely practical perspective on creating shareholder value through putting the voice of the customer at the heart of business strategy."
--Craig Dinsell, Executive Vice President of Human Resources, Oppenheimer Funds Inc.

"The new edition provides even more straight talk on communicating effectively with customers and practical advice for changing employee attitudes toward complaints."
--John Goodman, Vice Chairman, TARP Worldwide


Product Details

  • File Size: 518 KB
  • Print Length: 305 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; 2 edition (August 18, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005M0CZV0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #264,057 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
(25)
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gives Insights on How to Complain Effectively August 8, 2008
Format:Paperback
My complaints are mainly with tour companies, airlines, and hotels. My letters and emails go unanswered, especially when I travel with European tour companies. So reading this book helped me to understand how businesses think and approach them in a positive way.

The author gives clever and informative guidelines so that next time I have a serious complaint I will know how to address the company making sure that I get positive results and they accept my criticism as an opportunmity for improvement.

The author's style is personable and entertaining as she gives lots of examples on why one should complain and how companies must alter their preceptions of complaints.

I've had some terrible experiences with companies in the past but now I have the tools to get results. Companies and businesses should use this book as a textbook.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For the beginner in customer service October 7, 2008
Format:Paperback
I have been in customer service for many years and am always looking for literature to further educate myself to improve what I do for a living. The book was very good but didn't tell me anything I already knew. This book would be an excellent read for someone just starting in customer service.

Thank you.

Perry Bruno
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5.0 out of 5 stars Will change your thinking about customer service August 4, 2013
Format:Paperback
My definition of a good business book is one that persuasively challenges conventional thinking. 'A Complaint is a Gift' does that with a compelling argument for why angry customers should be embraced and nurtured, difficult as that notion may be for many businesses to understand.

As the authors explain, customers who complain are asking for permission to continue being customers. Taking them seriously shows that a business cares as much about them as they do about the business. When complaints are welcomed, accepted and acted upon, magic happens. Dell Computer has published statistics based upon years of customer service experience showing that 97% of complaining customers can be satisfied and more than 40% can be turned into raving fans. That's because angry customers are passionate, and passion can be turned in a positive direction if well managed. The real problem for a business isn't the people who complain, it's the people who leave and never say a thing.

I read this book as background research for my own book, Attack of the Customers: Why Critics Assault Brands Online and How To Avoid Becoming a Victim, and it turned out to be the most useful source I found. Barlow and Moller's wisdom sometimes goes against conventional thinking, such as when they advocate thanking angry customers instead of apologizing to them. But their recommendations are thoroughly researched and well-supported. Once they explain the rationale for their rather counter-intuitive advice, you'll usually agree with them. The authors have done their homework, and they demonstrate that with plentiful citations of independent research and academic studies.

This book will change the way you think about your customers. I highly recommend it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Use complains to improve October 8, 2011
Format:Paperback
"A complaint is a gift" is probably *the* classic in complaint handling for organizations. The book attempts to change the attitude towards complaints. Instead of seeing complains as annoying, organizations should see them as "gifts", meaning feedback because with this feedback they have an opportunity to become better companies and retain their customers.

The book consists of three different parts. The first part covers complains. Where do they come from? Why do people complain? Are they negative or positive? The goal of the first part is to change your mindset towards complaining from annoying to gifts.

The second part gives more concrete advise on how to actually deal with complains. It introduces one major theme in the book, which the authors call "the gift formula" which is a 8-step method for responding to complains. The method uses steps to respect the customer, take the complain serious and actually take action towards it. This forumula is giving in the first chapter, the other chapters then discuss about different concrete situations.

The third part covers 2 chapters which are just grouped together. The first chapter talks about how to respond when complains are personal and from close people. This is a lot harder, but also here the feedback can be useful for improving yourself. The second chapter turns it around and discusses how to complain.

I found the book useful, yet at times I felt slightly bored with how it was written. I'm not quite sure why, maybe it was the speed that wasn't fast enough. The point of the book is very relevant though and I wish more service providers have read and used the points in this book. The book is a classic, yet it didn't wow me and thus *only* four stars.
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A disappointed new edition. Content-wise, prefer 1st edition much better than this much anticipated 2nd, revised edition. Really want to ask for refund!!

The framework of the book is basically the same like the 1st edition, but content-wise, it is a watered-down version, which touches upon e-complaints, impact of web 2.0 and blogging on complaint management too lightly and not in-depth enough. Try Citizen Marketers and Creating Customer Evangelists--much much
better written and more up-to-date, and both have refreshing point of views on customer complaints.

Two previous important chapters on "building a complaint-friendly service culture" and "company policy and organization system-building on complaint handling" are ripped out (which are very important concepts and tools for first edition readers). This new edition is launched after 12 years, but the authors did not introduce any revolutionary ideas on complaint handling and their points of views are a bit too dated and overly common-sensical, such as valuing customers, treating customers well to attract loyal customers (many ideas are already known and are cliche ideas from the 80s/90s--TQM, Total Service Excellence Era).

This book is a bit "academic"--more about the "why" than the "how" of complaint handling. Part One, the first 5 chapters are the boring "why" chapters, whereas Part Two starts to talk about the "hows". Part Three on Personal side of Complaints Handing is a bit out of context (this should be a business book, not suddenly a personal self help or self-improvement book!). The last chapter teaches customers how to complain effectively, and even encourage customers to become "complaint activist". This should be a book fully on complaint handling, not suddenly "How To Complain Effectively?".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very useful book!
It is a wonderful book full of examples how to recover customers when things go wrong. I have already started using it with have found favorable results. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Mandeep Arora
5.0 out of 5 stars I heard this author speak some time ago and really ...
I heard this author speak some time ago and really appreciated the information she gave and more that was in the book. Read more
Published 28 days ago by Carole
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Customer Service training instrument!
Everyone loves gifts... Change the way you think of customer feed back. Take advantage of each opportunity to improve. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Karen Louise Johnson Page
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for handling customer/guest opportunities
I was asked to read this by my Hotel Manager and it's been very insightful so far. A good read for people who work in customer service.
Published 15 months ago by Brittany Jarrin
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for handling poor service
Great examples if great and poor customer service.
The tools for handling complaints and poor service are fantastic. Read more
Published 17 months ago by J. J. Santos
5.0 out of 5 stars Im complaint manager
hi,
I m complaint manager and i 've learnt about so much about complaints
Please more :)
Thank yoy very much
Published 20 months ago by BOZENA WOJEWODZKA
5.0 out of 5 stars THe best book around on dealing with complaints
This book if for sure the best book on dealing with complaints. I have learned so much from this book and used it on the day-to-day dealing with complaints from customers.
Published on February 4, 2013 by Agent9er
5.0 out of 5 stars Processes, not people, are the problem
"Punish your processes, not your people."

The authors (Barlow and Moller) point out that staff and managers frequently misunderstand complaints as being criticism... Read more
Published on January 4, 2011 by Dana Michaels
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous credible Book
Bravo! I found this book readable, intelligent, and highly
informative. The chapter on the personal side of Complaints Handing
is important to all those who feel that... Read more
Published on October 29, 2008 by Pamela J. Fedderson
5.0 out of 5 stars A complaint is a gift
The new Complaint Is A Gift provides even updated advice on communicating effectively with customers and practical guidance for changing employee attitudes toward complaints. Read more
Published on October 29, 2008 by John A. Goodman
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