Trained hoplessness

Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

Rick Rappe at The Customer Service Survey points to this article by John Goodman and Cindy Grimm in ICCM weekly: Beware of Trained Hopelessness. Essentially, they speculate that fewer and fewer customers now bother to complain… so the old saw about their being 10 problem-sufferers for every explicit complaint is optimistic.

One of TARP’s behavioral psychologists called this phenomenon “trained hopelessness”. While not a technical term it makes the stark point that the customer has been trained by the system to accept problems as a general business practice: Without prospect of change customer don’t bother complaining.

One advantage for organisations tracking blogs is that they can pick up feedback from customers who aren’t necessarily bothering to make a direct complaint. James Cherkoff and I have been setting up some reports for brands recently and they’re proving a good way of getting more sense of what is and isn’t working for customers – without the costs and delays of conventional market research.

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