Yes, you read that correctly. And note that it reads ‘angry customer’, and not just a dissatisfied customer. I will explain what I mean with a real story.

About three years ago, there was this case of a hospital located in a highbrow area of Lagos and obviously, they targeted high-end customers. It was considered a very good hospital until an ugly event broke out after one of the high profile clients lost his wife during a surgery owing to a doctor’s negligence.

Now, this dissatisfied client just intended to mourn his loss and lick his wounds quietly though he was yet bitter especially as it was an avoidable loss. However, along the way, he narrated his ordeal to a close friend who in turn narrated it to a friend. Now, this friend turned out to be an activist and blogger with a wide following, who decided to carry the painful story on his blog. And this sparked a great deal of outrage against the doctor and the hospital.

Well, that isn’t even the crux of the matter. The surprising issues was what ensued in the comment that story garnered on the blog and on social media. It turned out that there were several other clients of the hospital who had had a rough deal with the said doctor, in fact, two others who had also lost family members due to his negligence now had a channel and platform to vent, and vent they did. And as the heat caught on, The Ministry of Health soon wield in and within a week the license of the hospital was revoked and the facility shut down. Bad for business.

My conclusion from the whole saga, which I followed keenly was that the hospital suffered such a costly fate because they didn’t have enough angry customers. And this is likely because they didn’t give their customers an avenue to vent. They had dissatisfied customers who needed to get angry. Angry enough to give the much needed feedback that would have helped it see and address its issues and realign where necessary.

They would never have known the good that such angry customers were doing. Unfortunately, I guess they now do, but in an unpleasant manner.

With so much damage done by the doctor, the hospital management never got in the know about it because the affected customers chose to keep it to themselves and made their mourning a private affair. Well, this cost the hospital a lot.

Had the affected customers laid their complaints, the hospital management would have gotten to know they had a careless and maybe incompetent doctor on their payroll. It would have been easier to take out the bad egg and save the hospital rather than have the entire hospital suffered such loss which it has yet to recover from till date because of one doctor’s negligence.

The lesson from this episode is the value of feedback, however unpleasant. If you don’t create a channel for feedback, circumstances will provide them and it will turn back to bite you real bad.

An angry, screaming customer may not be a delightful sight a business owner wants to see, but it might be worth a great deal of good for the company on the long run if the feedback is well taken and the issues addressed. However, more importantly is the need to put in place an effective feedback mechanism that allows customers to vent and express their dissatisfaction in a more appropriate manner, and this is good for business.

As a great man said, feedback is indeed the breakfast of champions. Without it, you are no champion and will soon be someone’s breakfast.

Leave a comment: How do you handle dissatisfied services – do you often walk away unhappy or you lodge complaints? Would you say business owners have a good channel for people to express their displeasure?

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