These days, customers expect personalized experiences and services from brands. If a business succeeds at offering customers an engaging and memorable experience, it is likely to earn them loyalty for life. However, a negative customer experience not only makes a business lose its customers but tarnishes its image resulting in negative publicity which can do irreparable damage to a brand’s repute. According to a report published by Oracle, “89 percent of the customers begin doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience.” What can companies do to rectify a mistake and turn a negative experience into a positive one? Here are five steps to follow:
According to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive, “79 percent of consumers who shared complaints about poor customer experience online had their complaints ignored.” If a customer gets his/her order wrong, late or has issues replacing/refunding a product you should own your mistake and listen patiently to an irate customer. The first step towards turning a negative customer experience into a agreeable one is to show your customers that you really are sorry for the inconvenience caused. Some customers are very emotional and they just want to vent their anger and annoyance on someone, be a patient listener to such customers and make them feel heard without cutting the conversation and giving predictable explanations.
According to a Consumer Experience Impact Survey, “51 percent of the consumers complained that companies are impersonal, sometime they can’t even get the customer’s name right.” The second step towards rectifying a negative customer experience is to empathize with the customers. Converse with them addressing their names and tell them you understand what they are going through and how they feel. A customer who got a raw entrée on his/her plate or has been charged for a Valentine’s bouquet that got delivered two days later than the promised delivery time or has been waiting in queue for hours to get a query answered deserves empathy and a logical explanation for poor service. So show them that you are concerned about their complaint and you can actually relate to their situation.
The third step towards fixing a negative experience is to come up with an instant solution, however, you need to keep in view the situation and kind of customer you are dealing with. A demanding customer would just want everything to be perfect and he/she would keep you on your toes until they are served what they want, so listen to all their demands and then offer a satisfactory solution that addresses all their concerns. While dealing with a customer who is yelling offer a comfort zone to him/her and then promptly resolve the issue along with a formal apology and loyalty card.
The next step towards making an unhappy customer contented and happy is to utilize all your resources to resolve the complaint/issue on hand. For instance, if a customer is unhappy about the quality of a product or if a customer has ordered a product that is out of stock you should be flexible in your return/exchange policies and make your customers feel special by offering them something extra. Be friendly with your customers, accommodate and facilitate them. Sometimes a kind gesture is likely to turn an angry customer into a brand advocate. Utilize all your resources while resolving a customer complaint, be it customer service wait time or negligence of your staff, make sure to set things right for an unhappy customer.
Communicate and stay in touch with your customer even after you have fixed a negative experience. Make your customers feel valued, send a follow up e-mail or call them to check if they are happy with the offered solution. Send them reminders about your upcoming sales or offer them discounts on new product launches to stir a feeling that you are looking forward to seeing them again. Interact with your customers regularly on social media pages.
Negative customer experiences are more ardently shared on social media than the positive ones, which is why you need to keep a check on your brand’s repute online on Facebook, Twitter and discussion forums. There is a chance that you might miss out an unhappy customer and he/she shares and tweets it all over social media. In order to cope with negative publicity and comments, you should instantly take notice of a customer’s grievance, use quick and efficient approach to comfort him/her and publish a press release that portrays you as a professional and competent business.
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