General Retail Business Issues/consumer complaints


Many years ago a college professor talked about a business law or rule dealing with the ratio between customers who take the time to submit a written complaint and those who dont. The message being that those written complaints really represent many more people and thus should be taken seriously.  Do you know of any such rule?   thanks

Dear Ernie,
It is amazing how college professors extrapolate truisms from almost no data! Just about every retailer that we have worked with that has customer comment cards finds that there are two major reasons why people fill them out, one is that they had an extremely positive experience and the second group had the opposite. What we need to hear from and the real arbiters of success is the huge middle group that never comments, even if they have a negative experience, they just go away and never say anything. We know that a significant number of negative reviews are caused by chronic complainers and people trying to game the system hoping to get a perk from their complaint. Now, having said all that, it is true that negative experiences tend to be retold at a greater rate than positive experiences although extremes at both ends tend to get the same amount of re-telling in social situations. I would always counsel to pay close attention to negative comments from customers as we can often learn from them and change our service delivery methods based on the learning, but to give them extra weight, or use them to punish my staff, not so much.

General Retail Business Issues

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James E. Dion


Most questions about trends in specialty retail, how customers are changing both in the US and Europe. Demographics for all countries as they relate to retail trends and issues. Store Operations, Buying and Merchandising.


Over 40 years in the retail industry, store level, store manager, buyer, merchandise manager, Vice President.

BS Psychology, MS Psychology, PhD(abd) Industrial Psychology Illinois Institute of Technology

Past/Present Clients
Microsoft, Harley-Davidson, Ritz-Carlton, Hummer, Williams-Sonoma, Ace Hardware, Coleman Spas, Aldo, Intel, Dell, Safeway, New Balance, IBM, Kodak, Bata International, Nortel Networks, Honey Baked Ham Co., Man Alive, Highsmith
B.S Chicago State University M.S. Chicago State University PhD (abd) Illinois Institute of Technology

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