Innovative Marketing Ideas for Small Business and Entrepreneurs: Monetizing Customer Complaints

Building loyalty with a dissatisfied customer is easier than you might think.

When a customer complains, a great opportunity opens up for you to build loyalty. Are you taking advantage of it?

Complaining business owner

Making your customers happy isn’t a walk in the park

Satisfying your customers is a complex task because it is an attempt to meet – or even exceed – their expectations, and as these expectations are subjective,they can differ from one customer to another.

A recent study conducted by Customer Care Measuring & Consulting provides two valuable pieces of data of great relevance in this regard.

The first says that customers who complain, but have not yet had their problem resolved, are 12% less loyal to a brand than those who have no complaint. However, the second says that when the complaint is resolved to the client’s satisfaction, the effect is the reversed, and a 21% greater loyalty is achieved. Thus, a dissatisfied customer who has had their problem resolved in a satisfactory manner will be more loyal to the brand than a customer who never had any issue with the service.

Do you see the opportunity? Many successful entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos and James Dyson, were able to identify and take advantage of this opportunity.

Of course, it would be very easy to ‘plant’ problems and then solve them in order to gain customer loyalty, wouldn’t it? It sounds like a strategy, so why doesn’t anyone apply it?

It’s simple. Successfully resolving a complaint costs money. You must invest resources to recover a customer. If you’re not willing to do it, it’s better to let it go.

You can’t pretend to maintain a profitable transaction after a problem for which you were responsible. What you have to aim for is a profitable long-term relationship.

Companies that invest money in managing complaints and claims from their customers have an invaluable resource at their fingertips.

Businessmen having a serious talk

Non-monetary options for increasing customer loyalty

The study mentioned another interesting point based on analysis of the type of compensation offered to customers: It is possible to increase customer loyalty by only adding non-monetary rewards to material compensation. Yes, it has been proven that 74% of customers have been completely satisfied when they have been offered both types of compensation (monetary + non-monetary), compared to only 37% of customers compensated with only monetary rewards.

This is a fantastic piece of information because it means you can earn twice as much loyalty without spending an extra penny.

But what are some effective non-monetary rewards?

It is easy to take advantage of your opportunity to retain more dissatisfied customers by:

  • Worthy treatment of the customer
  • A spontaneous response (not established with a script)
  • Assurance that the problem will not be repeated
  • An explanation of what happened
  • A thank you for being a customer
  • A show of empathy for the customer’s concerns
  • Giving the customer the opportunity to vent and …
  • Offering an apology

In short, acknowledge their frustrations and genuinely try to solve their problem. Is this too much to ask? Enrich your customer complaint processes with sincere gestures and person to person communication.


You’ll soon see the difference, and building customer loyalty requires much less investment and resources than continually acquiring new customers. A satisfied customer will also not hesitate to recommend you and your business to others – which is invaluable!