No one’s complaining

I’ve heard this one before. I’ve used this one before.

“No one’s complaining” so it fine.

“No one” really means “no one has complained to you“. It doesn’t mean no one is complaining to someone else, somewhere else.

In fact, if the thing you make/sell isn’t meeting someone’s expectations, there’s a good chance you’re the last one who’d hear the complaint.

Contacting the company to complain is pretty far down the list. At the top are friends, family, colleagues. If you aren’t hearing the complaint it’s likely because it’s directed elsewhere. People typically talk truth behind backs, not to faces.

Reputation erodes in the shadows before it comes to light.

It’s not all that different from a manager or CEO eventually discovering something was wrong but “no one told me sooner”. The higher up you are, you’re often the last to know.

Out of everywhere someone will complain, you’re close to nowhere.

“I haven’t heard anyone complain about that to me” is a more accurate statement.

So next time you say “no one’s complaining” you may be right, but you’re probably wrong. Doesn’t mean you need to do anything about it – not all complaints are worth acting on – but it should serve as a reminder that there’s a lot you don’t know.

8 thoughts on “No one’s complaining

    1. I too use to frequent 37svn just to read the blog comments.

      That seemed to have died when this blog moved to Medium and comments were suppressed.

    2. I think it’s because most of the audience (me included) now interacts with Jason content, mostly via Twitter.

  1. I have faced something even worse, we have been asked directly by the CEO of the company TO complain about a reform in our project management workflows and warned that “If you don’t have any complains now, you can’t have any in the future!” What do you call that?!

  2. As someone who routinely complains (ahem, provides feedback) to companies about online experiences, I can say that getting anything but an autoreply is rare. Since that’s what likely happens with most customers, people just deal with whatever they get. In 2019 I sent specific messages via various channels to http://www.cox.com, http://www.roomdividers.com, http://www.illy.com, two survey software companies and a professional services firm. None of them replied and all of their customer support reps said the same thing via phone calls, “we know and no one cares”.

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  4. “No one’s complaining” so it fine.

    This is me complaining about the missing ‘s. LOL

  5. This is such a great reminder, Jason! Thank you for sharing this. I needed it!

    THIS: Reputation erodes in the shadows before it comes to light.

    As a leader (product or team), always assume there is a back channel of communication full of conversation and color. Being aware of that channel, even if you don’t have access to it, should tune you towards creating the environment where that information can more freely surface.

    Thanks again for sharing!

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