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 those feelings 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 negative impacts early on and come to the rescue quickly, you can turn that painful negative customer experience into a loyalty moment.
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 negatives into positives
To effectively manage negative customer experience, 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 predictive analytics 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 their needs, along with a welcome surprise, can be effective in transforming a customer’s negative perception 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.
Loyal customers are 5x as likely to repurchase, 5x as likely to forgive, 7x as likely to try a new offering, and 4x as likely to refer. – Temkin Group
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.