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There's profit in listening

As an entrepreneur, you tend to make profit - better profit - if you listen to customers' complaints and suggestions. That's the conclusion of a recent survey made by Technical Assistance Research Programs Inc. of Washington, D.C. Often, the study found, when consumers are not encouraged to report dissatisfaction, they simply switch brands or close personal accounts. Lost business, as tested, can derive from unhappy customers who pass along complaints to as many as 10 other people. By contrast, those pleased with a firm's adjustment policies and attitudes tend to spread praise to four or five friends.

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