When customers have a bad experience, they’re often more connected to how they FEEL about it, than the issue itself. And in the age of social media, it’s a good bet they’ll vent that negative sentiment publicly and create a ripple effect you want to avoid.
That’s why it’s business-critical to pay close attention to every touch point. If you can spot customer impacts early on and come to the rescue quickly, you can turn that negative sentiment into experiences that earn loyalty.
Consider human nature… When customers have a negative experience, what may resonate most is helping them feel heard, reassured, and valued. The more you do that, the more their frustration may dissolve into relief and even delight.
So, how do you do it?
3-tiered strategy to turn negative sentiment into positive impact
To effectively manage negative customer experiences, you need a good balance between empathy and practical business needs. We recommend a three-tiered approach:
- Don’t randomize, prioritize
- Fix what’s broken, then go the extra mile
- Strengthen community and rally brand advocates
1 – Don’t randomize, prioritize
In dealing with negative sentiment, don’t try to respond to everything. Focus first where you can do the most good. Start with helping customers who have the most serious concerns, or address issues that impact the greatest number ofpeople.
To prioritize negative feedback, it helps to understand the severity of issues and customer sentiment across multiple channels — but that can be daunting. Gaining actionable insights with machine learning and sentiment analysis can make it easier to prioritize how you respond to customers, so you take the right action at the right time.
2 – Fix what’s broken, then go the extra mile
Listen to customer concerns, admit any mistakes, and be clear and reassuring about how you’ll make things right. When possible, go the extra mile by offering a perk (like a flight coupon, retail discount, or free overnight shipping).
Your prompt attention to customer needs, along with a welcome surprise, can be effective in transforming a customer’s negative sentiment into delight that leads to loyalty. Reinforce that connection by reaching out again down the road to make sure they’re happy.
Giving customers personalized attention in moments that matter often motivates them to celebrate your brand with positive reviews, which can improve brand perception for thousands of other customers.
3 – Strengthen community and rally brand advocates
In responding to negative feedback, let customers drive the conversation. Listen to what would please them and share solutions that may benefit other customers as well. Engaging their ideas can help build a sense of community with your company, make you appear open and approachable, and inspire others to join the conversation.
Look for loyal customers who will defend your brand and engage them directly to express appreciation. Learn what they like about your company and how you might delight them. Offering meaningful attention may drive more business and could motivate those customers to help influence positive sentiment online.
Transforming negative sentiment – How Beyond the Arc can help
Think of negative feedback as part of doing business, and use it to innovate your customer communications. Take advantage of digital channels to connect with customers in quick and convenient ways they prefer.
For 20 years, we’ve been helping companies create customer-friendly communications to power their brand. The right strategy, timing, language and tone can make a big difference in improving CX and restoring trust to increase retention and nurture loyalty.
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