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When people cease to complain, they cease to think: Napoleon
I fear for the English then.
As a general rule of thumb, we love to gripe, grumble and whinge but we rarely complain in a formal sense.
As social anthropologist Kate Fox observes in Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour:
English customers may moan indignantly to their companions, push the offending food to the side of their plate and pull disgusted faces at each other, but when the waiter asks if everything is all right they smile politely, avoiding eye contact, and mutter, ‘Yes, fine, thanks'
Typically, for businesses, the evils of the 'silent complaint' usually manifest themselves as lost future trade or a damaging rant on social media. And suing a customer for defamation is usually not a realistic option.
So how can traders fight against the tyranny of the invisible moan?
Counter-intuitively, there is plenty of research to show that encouraging complaints is actually good for business (see, for example, this recent article from Forbes in the States).
So, here are some tips and pointers to draw out complaints and, importantly, stay on the right side of the law:
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