Reasons Customers Complain about Brands

Angry Customer

Photo by Moose Photos

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room”. – Jeff Bezos, CEO, Chairman, and Founder, of Amazon

A brand is more than just a name, symbol, or design that sets you or your product apart from others. The process of branding is a lot more complex and there are many reasons customers complain about brands. Branding is about making a name, product, or service identifiable and likable. Above all, it is about people reposing trust in that name, product, or service. A successful branding exercise not only conveys information about the quality and reliability of a product. It also helps consumers become familiar with a group of unique benefits that the brand offers and helps them identify with what they perceive as the personality of that brand. One way you can reduce customer complaints is through customer satisfaction. You can use interactive decision tools to deliver the right information to your customers.

Brand recognition

To understand why customers complain about brands, the power of a brand needs understanding. A Global New Product Innovation Survey found that nearly 60% of respondents from all over the world prefer to buy a new product from a brand they are already familiar with. In fact, brand recognition is the most important determinant in helping consumers decide what to buy. Brand recognition scored higher than affordability even, found the survey. The survey found that the value of brand recognition is even higher in developing market economies. 68% of the respondents surveyed said that they would rather buy products from brands they were familiar with.

Branding inspires confidence

It is a fact that a successful branding exercise inspires confidence and signifies quality, which sets the brand apart from others. It helps the buyer predict what they are getting when they buy a product from a known brand. This assurance of quality that the buyer presumes about a brand is probably the most valuable asset of the company. Subsequent product launches of a brand are much more likely to succeed because of this. The confidence with which a buyer makes a purchase is hard-won. Branding is a time-consuming and costly exercise. No company can afford to fritter away this hard-earned advantage.

Why do customers complain about brands?

Take a look at some of the most common reasons why customers complain about brands. You can avoid these pitfalls and guard your brand against the erosion of its worth. Something you have so painstakingly built.

Brand betrayal

According to experts, brand betrayal is the quickest way to the destruction of a brand. When a brand promises something and falls significantly short of delivering on that promise, the buyers feel betrayed. Violating a brand promise or violating values associated with a brand (values that may be important to followers) breaks trust. Trust can be impossible to repair or rebuild; one of the main reasons customers complain about brands.

For people who are their brands, it can be moral turpitude or scandal, the public revelation of lies, dishonesty, or deliberate misstatements. An example is the Grammy winners who were unable to sing. Another example is the world-famous cyclist who confessed to the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs. Such constitutes a betrayal and the consequent implosion of that brand.

To avoid such a disastrous consequence to your brand, know what your brand’s promise is. Never violate it to any significant degree. Stay true to the values of your brand. Be careful to exhibit behaviors that are consistent with that brand promise.

Inconsistent product quality

Inconsistent quality is another reason customers complain about brands. One cornerstone for the entire branding exercise is about creating trust in the quality and consistency of a product. Consumers know what to expect from a brand for certain quality or level of service when they buy. They also expect that that quality will remain consistent over time. In addition, the subsequent products launched by the brand will be up to that quality standard.

For instance, there is a blog that launched with a bang; with very high-quality content. The blog owner reaped rich rewards in the form of high readership and the generation of ad revenues. In other words, it was possible to monetize the blog because of consistent and high-quality content. However, over time, the quality and frequency of the later content on the blog failed to live up to the initial frequency. So why would readers hang around only to be disappointed?  In a world where a new, more interesting blog goes live every day, where content providers have to contend with the reality of a fickle audience with tiny attention spans, the readership will simply move elsewhere.

Similarly, a customer who has been buying, say a soap for several years. They are they like the fragrance and enjoy the way it lathers. However, they will not like it if the fragrance alters, the shape of the soap changes, or the size becomes smaller. The customer may not mind. They may even enjoy more attractive packaging but other significant changes may be viewed as a lowering of quality and consistency. This perception is the reason customers complain about brands!

Not thinking about the customer

As any experienced marketer will tell you, a customer buys for their reasons, not the company’s reasons. Manufacturers or service providers need to think long and hard about the requirements of a consumer. Then, work towards delivering those. Never over-promise and never under-deliver! Provide all required information freely and fairly. Be honest about what the customer gets when they spend their money. Buyers hate nasty surprises such as hidden costs. For example, buy an MP3 player but pay extra for the earphones. Customers do not want to pay for a service and then find that it does not include several vital features of the service.

The solution is to under-promise and over-deliver. If you don’t promise, you are not required to deliver on that promise. If you can offer the customer something extra along with a service or product – without the customer having any real expectation of it – the customer is delighted and you end up strengthening your brand loyalty.

Inadequate or poor customer support

Nothing puts off customers as the feeling that a company is only interested in selling. Here is a typical scenario. A sales rep calls regularly, is polite and patient, and answers all the questions of the potential customer until they make the purchase. After this, company reps are out of reach. They fail to answer phones and are abrupt and unsatisfactory in the replies they give. The changes in attitude are disappointing, to say the least.

When customers complain about brands, not only do you have to be easily approachable. You also have to be responsive to those complaints. Demonstrating concern about problems faced, and the ability to resolve those problems quickly and effectively is vital. Provide several avenues to get in touch: email, phone, social media, or website contact form. Respond quickly via knowledgeable personnel who are trained to respond appropriately and politely. Don’t skimp on customer support. Good customer support is vital for generating positive word of mouth and is very important for retaining customers. It will pay for itself in the end.

Run down another brand while praising your own

Remember, customers, are smart. They can see through the jargon and the marketing gobbledygook. So when you use terms such as ‘industry leading’ or ‘best in class’ or ‘first ever’ the customer may be less impressed. When you compare your brand favorably with another, the customer may wonder why you felt the need to do so.

Clarifying why and in what way your product or service is superior to that of a competitor. It may be counterproductive, sound a bit desperate, and may do no good to your brand. Remember you’re providing unnecessary publicity to a competitor. Giving them undue importance that detracts from the virtues of your personal brand. Rather than mention any other brand, concentrate on avoiding circumstances where customers complain about brands at all.