The Complaint Handling Process from a Hispanic Point of View Essay

This document discusses different types of customers and their customer service complaints, focusing on the Hispanic point of view. Hispanics are the fastest growing minority and ethnic group in the U. S. , and amass great purchase power. The Hispanic customers are discerning, demanding, and loyal to their favorite brand. Upon disappointing this large and powerful market segment, organizations have much work to do to recapture their trust. Companies must learn about the customer service needs of their Hispanic clients and find strategic ways to fill the voids in their industry.

The Hispanic customers know good customer service by nature, and as long as their favorite brands provide quality merchandise, and superior customer service Hispanics will remain loyal, and will travel to purchase their products and services. The Complaint Handling Process from a Hispanic Point of View The handling of customer complaints is the most important component when striving to provide superior customer service. According to Wysocki, Kepner, and Glasser (2012), research indicates that for every complaint expressed there are over 26 complaints that are never registered.

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A customer with a complaint is likely to tell 20 to 25 other customers and potential customers about his complaint. There are many types of customers, Management often mistakenly assumes that everything is okay until a customer complains, not realizing that when customers are dissatisfied it is most times easier for them to quietly take their business elsewhere. Organizations that are customer service focused actively seek out customer complaints instead of just responding to customer complaints.

Therefore, those that are truly committed to delivering superior customer service work hard at providing customers with opportunities to voice their complaints. According to Wysocki, Kepner, and Glasser (2012), there are three important aspects to the complaint handling process: actively seeking complaints, recognizing the type of customer that is complaining, and responding appropriately based on the type of customer complaining. Actively Seeking Complaints Most companies are concerned about globalization, but fail to recognize the importance of customer feedback.

Organizations that actively seek complaints provide their customers with the opportunity to voice their concerns, opinions, and needs. According to Krasovitzky (n. d. ), here is a great deal of disinformation, and an inability to see the great opportunities offered by complaints. Complaints help to consolidate the image of an organization and set it apart from its competitors. Although complaints can make a company look bad, they help detect flaws and improve the quality of their products and services.

Complaints present companies with an opportunity to surprise their customers with solutions that make them feel valued and help to strengthen their relationship. The best way to solve problems is to avoid them, but all companies fail every once in a while, that is part of doing business. Feedback is a company’s best friend. Companies have available many effective avenues to seek feedback from their customers. One of the most effective and efficient ways to target customers is the internet.

As effective as the internet is, companies fail to utilize its vast capabilities. Companies concentrate on delivering messages instead of collecting information from existing and potential customers. According to Dolinsky and Feinberg (1986), linguistic and cultural barriers together with information overload result in less effective decision making by organizations and their customer. Miscommunications between organizations and consumers lead to less effective marketing techniques.

Misunderstanding customers and their needs is not only costly, but can cause organizations to target the wrong audience, utilize wrong delivery methods, and promote the wrong products. According to Cornwell, Bligh, and Babakus (1991), some cases of consumer complaints are classified as private or public actions. Private actions include negative word-of-mouth communication to friends and relatives, and switching brands or stores. Public actions include complaining to the seller, taking legal action, and complaining to some third-party entity such as government agency or a Better Business Bureau.

In a low growth, highly competitive market, maximizing complaint feedback from dissatisfied costumers is a viable marketing strategy to correct problems, provide constructive ideas that improve products and services, and help modify promotional efforts and product information. According to Blackshaw (2008), only a few brand name companies have pockets of compelling presence online targeting the Hispanic market with successful means of feedback in Spanish. In order to gain the Hispanic market, companies must go past the standards in advertising and find innovative ways to advertise and receive feedback in Spanish.

Furthermore, an effective feedback program has to be targeted to reach past the linguistic barriers, and must embrace the cultural diversity that exists within the Hispanic markets. Recognizing the Type of Customer that is Complaining According to Wysocki, Kepner, and Glasser (2012), at least five complainers types can be identified, and each type is motivated by different beliefs, attitudes, and needs. The meek: generally will not complaint. The aggressive: readily complains, often loudly and at length. The high roller: expects the absolute best and is willing to pay for it.

The rip-off: the goal is to get something the customer is not entitled to receive. The chronic complainer: is never satisfied; always finds something wrong, a whiner. It is important for marketers to identify the type of customers in their target audience in order to provide superior customer service. Hispanics are a diverse group whose broad communality is their ethnicity, and language. The Hispanic consumer consists of many groups and subgroups representing geographic regions, and even nationalities. The language they speak is just as diverse, covering regionalist lingo to local idioms.

To complicate matters further, according to Chattaraman, Lennon, and Rudd (2010), there are three Hispanic aculturation segments in the U. S. The first segment is the Hispanic-dominant, consisting of those who maintain a strong cultural identity and are not swaid by social trends. The second segment is the mainstream-dominant, those who have accepted their new surroundings, but still maintain solid cultural ties. The third group is the balanced-bicultural who while cognizant of their ethnical and cultural background, embrased and assimilated the U. S. ays, and follow social trends, and stay loyal to their favority brand names in their newly found home. Responding Appropriately Based on the Type of Customer Unfortunately, despite their nearly $1 trillion buying power, the Hispanic customers’ needs are ignored by organizations when implementing their customer service strategies, (PRWEB, 2007). This powerful group has access to the latest technology, the best perfumes, expensive homes and automobiles, and all other mainstream industries. Unfortunately, marketers have alienated and ignored the Hispanic purchasing power far too long.

Sometimes there is ill will against marketers resulting from stereotyping and miscommunication issues, and profits are lost in translation. The “Hispanic Customer Rage” survey demonstrated that 90% of Hispanics who had bad experience with a product or service experienced rage as opposed to 70% of English speaking customers. Spanish speakers are three times more likely to threaten to contact the media, or seek revenge. Compared to 43% of English speakers, 65% of Spanish speakers were more likely to want their money back if not satisfied.

Hispanics spend twice as much time complaining on average to resolve problems, reporting it was difficult or very difficult to complain in Spanish. On the other side, the survey found that companies that make it easy to do business in Spanish will likely Spanish speaking customers buy “significantly more” of their products and services. “The study shows clearly that Hispanics have been left behind in the movement to improve customer satisfaction,” said Louis Provenzano, President, and COO of Language Line Services when referring to the “Hispanic Customer Rage” (PRWEB, 2007).

He also noted that customers that found it difficult to complain in Spanish, were more likely to share their bad experience with friends and family, or take legal action against the offending company thereby increasing the brand damage. “The results of this study are a call to action for any company vested in marketing and selling to the Hispanic customer,” said Scott M. Broetzmann, President & CEO, Customer Care Measurement & Consulting (CCMC), and he added, “Don’t waste your marketing dollars acquiring Hispanic customers if you’re not committed to meeting their language and cultural customer care needs. (PRWEB, 2007).

Even though the Hispanic consumer base holds approximately $1 trillion in buying power, companies targeting their business know very little about the best ways to get their attention. In the United States, the Latin-American descendant population is labeled with a one size fits all designation “Hispanics or Latinos”. Nothing can be more misleading about this segment of the U. S. population than the words “Hispanic or Latino” because a word cannot encompass the diversity they represent. By underestimating this important segment of the U. S. population companies for a long time missed-out on this loyal customer base largely due to its inability to communicate clearly and efficiently resulting in poor customer service. The Hispanic consumer is discerning, aware, informed, and very demanding. Customer service is innate in Hispanics, and Hispanics take great pride in providing and receiving good customer service. From serving as household help to having extravagant life styles, Hispanics know good customer service, and demand nothing less from business partners.

Companies looking to win the Hispanic customer must seek them out on their terms, not generalizing. Hispanics represent many regions and countries, each with their own idiosyncrasies. Marketing to Hispanics has proven to be very complex. Only those companies that dare dig deep into their roots, and find out what is lacking in the market for the Hispanic consumer will win this rich and loyal segment of the population. However, once you lose their business, it is very difficult to lure them back and recover their trust.

References
Blackshaw, P. (2008). Spanish-language content surprisingly lacking on internet – Marketers, wake up and learn how to tap the buying power of growing Hispanic population. Access Business News, 52. Chattaraman, V., Lennon, S. J., & Rudd, N. A. (2010). Social identity salience: effects on identity-based brand choices of Hispanic consumers. American Psychological Association, Psychology & Marketing, 27(3), 263-284. Cornwell, T. B., Bligh, A. D., & Babakus, E. (1991). Complaint behavior of Mexican-American consumers to a third-party agency. The Journal of Consumer Affairs Vol. 25, No. 1. Dolinsky, C., & Feinberg, R. A. (1986). Linguistic barriers to consumer information processing: information overload in the hispanic population. American Pshychological Association, Psychology and Marketing, (3)4, 261-271. Krasovitzky, F. (n.d.). Effective complaint management: 12 Steps to customer delight. Retrieved from Magazine for Customer Service Professionals http://www.customerservicemanager.com/effective-complaint-management.htm
PRWEB. (2007, May 9). Customer rage survey shows Hispanics’ customer service experiences are much worse than those of Anglos. Retrieved from businesswire.com http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20070508005473/en/Customer-Rage-Survey-Shows-Hispanics-Customer-Service Wysocki, A. F., Kepner, K. W., ; Glasser, M. W. (2012). Customer complaints and types of customers 1. Retrieved from EDIS, University of Florida IFAS Extension http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hr005
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