Communication in customer complaints – What we can learn from HP Sauce

Good news about bad news

The way you use communication in customer complaints has a big impact on the response you get from customers.

A little while ago, HP Sauce changed their recipe.  So what?  In fact, it caused a mediastorm with customer complaints, articles in the UK social media, national press, on the radio and TV.  For a lot of people, it wasn’t what HP did, it was how they did it; how they responded to their customers who’d given them loyalty, sometimes over decades.  Some people said HP’s complaint handling could have been better – as customer experience specialists, that was our view too.

Twitter and Facebook agreed, with sites and messages being posted demanding the old recipe back.  There was the feeling that this was something of a customer experience fail.  Why?  It’s only sauce!  Actually, from an emotion management and emotional engagement point of view, it was a lot more significant.  That’s because communication in customer complaints often raises very significant emotions with what seem to be insignificant things.

Responding to customer complaints

Help your teams to respond to complaints in a human, customer-centric way.

Responding to customer complaints

Tiny things like the company’s response to a customer letter or customer complaint, a bit of copywriting that just pushes the wrong buttons.  Yes, people are rational – but they’re emotional too.  And when they respond to customer communications, they can respond very irrationally indeed.

The secret is how to engage their emotions positively, by getting your customer focus right, answering their unspoken questions, being authentic and giving them reasons why you’ve done what you’ve done.

In this Slideshare we look at handling customer complaints and how HP could have done it differently.

The good news about bad news from Rubuss

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Mark McArthur-Christie

I'm managing director at Rubuss. We work in taking operational customer communication and turning it from an overhead into a business asset.