Consumer Complaints Management in the Digital Era

Consumer Complaints Management in the Digital Era

Copyright: © 2024 |Pages: 34
DOI: 10.4018/979-8-3693-0428-0.ch003
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The aim of this research is to provide theoretical insights into effectively managing complaints made by businesses and brands on digital platforms. In this context, the authors first explain the consumer complaint process in the digital environment. Following that, they provide guidance on how businesses should handle these complaints. Managing complaints is crucial for fostering satisfied and loyal consumers. To this end, the authors provide a detailed breakdown of each step in the complaint resolution process, including deciding on a complaint resolution strategy, collecting complaints, reviewing complaints, resolving complaints, acquiring customers, and conducting a comprehensive analysis of complaints. Briefly, they outline the procedures that businesses should establish for complaint resolution, how they should go about resolving complaints, and how to analyze complaints using cause-and-effect relationships. The research will also feature practical examples from digital platforms, and the authors examine the findings of relevant studies on this topic.
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Consumer satisfaction with a company's products and services ranks among its top priorities. If consumer satisfaction is achieved, consumers will continue to purchase goods and services from those businesses and even recommend the products of those businesses to other consumers. Businesses should turn to relational marketing to establish long-term consumer relationships and not neglect the post-purchase period.

There is an increasing interest in relationship marketing and current marketing strategies to ensure long-term consumer satisfaction and promote consumer loyalty. One of the first studies on this subject was by Storbacka et al. (1994) shows a relationship between perceived service quality and relationship marketing. According to another study, Goodwin and Ross (1989) explain the formation of post-complaint satisfaction with justice theory. In this context, it was found that justice perceptions in the relationship between organizational reactions and post-complaint satisfaction. Furthermore, Reichheld (1993) underlined that even satisfied consumers may have a bad perception of the company or brand for several reasons. The situations as mentioned earlier make it necessary to consider consumers' complaints to satisfy them.

According to the British Museum (2023), complaints have been a part of socioeconomic life for centuries. The earliest complaint recorded in writing was written in Akkadian cuneiform in 1750. This clay tablet, known as the “complaint tablet to Ea-nir”, contains the complaint made by a consumer named Nanni to a retailer named Ea-Nasir. Businesses that have existed from the past to the present have offered various alternatives to satisfy consumers. Today, digital platforms are among the mechanisms that offer important clues to businesses in terms of satisfying consumers. Digital platforms have facilitated not only commerce but also communication between businesses and consumers. Thanks to Web 2.0 and rapid digitalization, consumers can communicate more comfortably and effectively on digital platforms. Consumers may now communicate on digital platforms more easily and effectively thanks to Web 2.0 and the rising digitization of society. One of the concepts that emerged in this direction is social listening. Margaret et al. (2018) defined social listening as an “active process of attending to, observing, interpreting, and responding to a variety of stimuli through mediated, electronic, and social channels”. Social listening occurs as a result of our interaction and communication with others on digital platforms. Social listening is a way to understand consumers much better. Businesses can better observe the satisfaction levels of consumers for products and services in this way. This is why these platforms become popular. For instance, in recent years, people have spent the majority of their time buying online. Purchases made through these digital platforms have led to a significant increase in global sales. TUSIAD (2022) indicates that the number of transactions completed through e-commerce platforms globally was 474.8 billion dollars in 2020 and 584.9 billion dollars in 2021. This figure is expected to reach 3.369 billion dollars in 2028, an increase of 28.4%.

Today's consumers are part of a subset known as “prosumers” who actively use digital platforms. These consumers can create and share their content. Therefore, it can be said that consumers have a greater influence, primarily through digital platforms. This effect becomes especially evident in cases of dissatisfaction. According to the study by Bozpolat and Çopur (2021), while 70% of the dissatisfaction-related spread is 30%, the share of satisfaction is 30%, and leaving the complaints made on digital platforms unanswered increases consumer dissatisfaction and leads to the rapid spread of negative opinions. Consumers can easily and rapidly complain about using digital media when their expectations remain unsatisfied. Therefore, this is a suitable channel where consumers can share their experiences with others and reach large masses through the spreading effect of social media. Therefore, this is a possible consumer feedback channel where consumers can share their own experiences with others and reach large masses with the spreading effect of social media.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Complaint Management: Businesses develop a communication process to solve related problems when consumers are dissatisfied.

Satisfaction: It is the situation in which the expectations of the consumers match the costs they tolerate.

Complaint: It is expressed as negative feedback made by consumers at a time when their expectations are not met.

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