Credit Matters Blog

Customer Rage Is Not Always Noisy

Kim Radok 08 June 2012


Customers in a rage do not always vent their anger in a manner which is easily visible to your business. When customers do make a noise, you can take steps to rectify the situation. There are even those who believe you can take such noisy complaints and turn them around for your advantage. In other words, you can take a negative and make it an operational or marketing positive.

I prefer there be no problems at all, but that is a blog for another occasion.

So we acknowledge you can do something about noisy customers venting their rage at your business. It is the silent customers who vent their rage in a less obvious manner, which is the most dangerous - because silent rage is not at first, readily obvious.

The silent customers raging about your business are so dangerous is because you often do not see your customer's rage until it is too late. Once you do realise something is amiss, the customer has already gone to your competitor.

For example, I worked at one business where a loyal customer slowly took their business elsewhere. No one in the business believed me when I highlighted the drop in sales or tried to find out why sales had dropped off. After all, what would I know about sales - I was only a credit manager!

So one day I had a quiet talk with the customer when they visited our head office.  The customer told me  they no longer dealt with us as much as previously because we could not raise invoices or supply goods without mistakes. They were losing time and money because of our mistakes and we did not seem to care.

Another strong sign you have an angry customer is; they no longer contact you about missing invoices, problems with incorrect orders etc.

The silent telephone or a lack of contact emails are not just a signs that your customers are not buying. The silent telephone or lack of contact emails are also signs your customer does not believe you will help them with their enquiries. Therefore they not interested in returning your contacts when you contact them for the outstanding account.

Finally, the silent customer who refuses to pay your account is another sign of serious issues. The customer does not pay you because they:

(i)    do not know how much they owe, or

(ii)  declare they will not pay you until the problems previously advised, are fixed, or

(iii)   have not received your invoice(s) and are in no rush to tell you.

In summary, the noisy customer with a complaint is akin to the accounts people who get paid by constantly reminding the customer about outstanding invoices. As the old saying goes "It is the squeaky door which gets oiled."

The silent customer, especially the angry ones, has two damaging tactics to upset you.  They either just quietly take their business away, or they do not pay until you solve their issues. In any case, you continue to lose business and cashflow and profits. 

In conclusion, my suggestion is you always watch out for the silent customers who never complain. I would also strongly suggest, it is these silent customers who need the occasional telephone call. These calls reinforce to the customer that your business values their custom and they are valued.  

May you be paid today rather than tomorrow

Kim Radok