Turn Negative Customer Experiences into Positive Opportunities – By Missy Ward

by Sara Szado on January 5, 2016

No matter how much you love your business or how well it is run, there will always be customers who are dissatisfied with your product or the service you provided, for whatever reason.

While complaints are not always a sign that something is wrong, reading a letter packed with grievances or a negative review online about your business… double sucks. Not only can the words hurt your feelings, but they may also be devastating to your business if left unchecked.

A Harris Interactive study indicated that only about 4% of dissatisfied customers complain. 96% just go away. Additionally, RightNow’s “Customer Experience Impact Report”, showed that 82% percent of U.S. consumers said they have stopped doing business with a company due to poor service. 55% of those said that the main reason was due to slow and inefficient resolution to a customer service inquiry.

Brian Littleton, CEO of ShareaSale.com recently gave a keynote address during Affiliate Summit East 2015. During his presentation he asked the audience to respond to the following question, “What’s the first word that comes to mind when you find out that someone has filed a Better Business Bureau complaint against your company or left you a really bad 1-star review on Yelp”?

This is a small sample of the audience responses.

Graphic for Turn Negative Customer Experiences into Positive Opportunities

While some of these first reactions may seem natural, how you actually respond to a customer that just called your baby, “Ugly”, can either turn into an opportunity for your company… or simply make your competitors happy.

Complaints, even enraged, off-the-wall ones may have merit. Being able to put your pride aside and take the time to evaluate those bitter little pills left for you to swallow may provide you with valuable feedback to make your business even better.

Additionally, statistics indicate that customers will continue to do business with you, even after you screwed up, but only if you completely remedy the issue, the first time and quickly.

But to make that happen, it requires a business owner to understand that a negative review isn’t the problem; it’s the result of a problem. It also requires a significant investment in training customer service staff to evaluate complaints and empowering them to make it right, promptly.

Companies that recognize that negative reviews can live online indefinitely, sometimes costing more than resolving the customer’s complaint in the first place have a much better chance of sustained success.

Missy Ward is Co-Founder of Affiliate Summit, Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine and blogs at MissyWard.com.

This article appeared in issue 32 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in October 2015. http://issuu.com/affiliatesummit/docs/feedfront-32

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