How much do unfortunate customers cost?

Recently Harvard Business Review OnPoint In the article “Don’t try to please your customers”, four statistics were shared about the impact of poor customer service on the fluctuations in your business.

  • 25% of customers will say something positive about their experiences.
  • 65 percent are likely to speak negatively.
  • 23% of customers with positive service interactions told 10 or more people about it.
  • 48% of customers with negative experiences spoke to 10 or more others.

(HarP Business Review OnPoint article by Matthew Dixon, Karen Freeman and Nicholas Toman)

The moral aspect of the story (in my opinion):

  • Unhappy customers talk more than happy customers.
  • Unhappy customers do no good to your business.
  • Unhappy customers are bad for your business.

If I were to recommend a quick, one-step solution to this problem – it would be simple: don’t let your unhappy customers get unhappy.

What do I mean by that? Yes, there are really three things – all of which will work wonders for the quality of your customer experience.

1. Ask for feedback immediately. If you wait a few days without sending a customer service request, you increase the time they are forced to spread information about the experience that spoils their day. So talk to them before you leave the building, before you put your phone down, and before you refuse to attend a time they are ready to do. The sooner you realize what’s wrong, the better your chances of rebuilding a relationship with your customer.

2. Make the last customer’s touch point memorable. Customers interact with a variety of employees, systems, and services while they are in your building or on your site, so make sure the last thing they experience is incredibly positive. I don’t think a good memory can take back a poor experience, but research has shown that what people remember has a greater impact than what people experience (Research by Daniel Kahneman), so do not miss the opportunity to put everything on a positive note.

3. As much as you can, solve the problem as soon as the customer solves the problem. It’s similar to # 1, but the difference is that it’s the number one way to give customers instant feedback – it’s to catch unhappy reviews quickly. This step is to determine the solution and take action to solve the problem. Many business customers are told, “We’ll call you when we make an update,” or “We’ll get more information on this in two weeks,” or “We’ll do an inventory update after hearing from the Housing Headquarters.” Some of these justifications are unavoidable – but the goal is to get things done on the spot when possible. Don’t procrastinate when you don’t need to – all issues should be urgent for a customer. Show them that you care about them by doing something about it came down.

Don’t ignore, avoid, or abandon your customers’ concerns – contact them immediately to take action-oriented steps these are priorities. This will minimize the amount of damage they can do – to your reputation and bottom line.