Paolo Fabrizio
September 11, 2017

Why No News Is Not Good News In Customer Service

no news is not good news

When I started working about 20 years ago, a mantra was ‘we must avoid customer complaints.’ That was the first time I heard about customer retention.

Today, working as a customer service consultant and trainer, I still see many companies trying to prevent complaints. But in the meantime, technology has dramatically changed customers’ behavior. In this article, I’m going to show you why preventing a complaint is good, yet not enough to sleep peacefully. Nowadays no news is not good news.

Customer Service Is Like Sailing 

Let me explain this concept with a metaphore. Try to imagine your company as a boat sailing on the ocean. You know the navigation route but some obstacles (other ships) are visible. Others (icebergs), however, are more dangerous just because they are much less visible. Now let’s dive deeper into this concept…

‘Other ships’ are customer complaints: they are evident feedback showing a customer’s dissatisfaction. You can handle them by investigating the reasons why, then replying accordingly and in a timely manner. Briefly speaking, if you manage them properly, you may even improve your customer service standards because you can:

  • Learn from your mistakes 
  • Strengthen customer relationships
  • Prevent customer churn

‘Icebergs’ are lack of customer’s feedback. Silence is the trickiest situation, because you might think that if the customer does not complain, he/she is fully satisfied. But that’s just an assumption! Many studies show that the majority of angry customers do not provide any feedback (on average, only 1 out of 26 complain). That’s why in todays customer service, no news is not good news!

5 Things You Can Start Doing Today

Below you can find a check-list that you can use to improve your customer service efficiency. It’s based on the following steps: 

  1. Ask for customer’s feedback . Don’t wait for them, be proactive. You can use various metrics such as CSAT, NPS or CES, as well as different tools (e.g., emails, surveys after customer service interactions or embedding forms within your website). Do it consistently but make sure not to be intrusive 
  2. Listen carefully. What’s going wrong according to your customers? What do they most frequently complain about? Investigate and engage other colleagues and departments to find where the problem lies
  3. Get prepared. Learn day by day to deal with irate customers. I know it’s not fun but it’s necessary to do it well for the future of your business
  4. Learn from your mistakes. How can you prevent similar types of friction in the future? Whether it means providing extra training for your staff or even changing processes/procedures where necessary, act to prevent customer churn
  5. Keep raising the the bar. Even when you achieve good results in increasing customer retention and overall satisfaction, never get fully satisfied. Your competitors don’t.

Your Turn

Getting too many complaints is a negative signal. However the lack thereof is even worse! You risk  realizing too late that your customer doesn’t love you anymore (after his or her departure to a competitor). That’s why ‘no news is not good news’ for your customer service – especially in the digital era in which we’re living.


Additional reading: How To Effectively Deal With Customer Rage

Featured image: Copyright: ‘‘ / 123RF Stock Photo

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Paolo Fabrizio

Digital Customer Service Consultant, Trainer, Author, Speaker. Paolo has been helping companies to harness digital customer service as a business driver. Founder of CustomerServiceCulture, author of books and speaker at conferences in Italy and abroad. Lecturer at the Bicocca University of Milan