Most unhappy customers decide to never use the service they didn’t like, or even worse, share their disappointment with their friends. Even though negative feedback might seem like a terrible thing, customers that express their dissatisfaction are creating an opportunity for you to improve their experience.
Talking to dissatisfied customers shows that you care about them and helps you prevent unwanted circumstances from happening.
Net Promoter Score® can help you reveal the customers who probably wouldn’t have shared anything if they weren’t given a chance to speak. After it segments your customers into three categories: promoters, passives and detractors, one of the first things you should do is address the complaints from your detractors – customers who gave your product a rating of zero through six score on an NPS scale.
Your goal is not only to solve the problem they were facing, but to turn them into loyal customers. Each dissatisfied customer has the potential to become your company’s brand advocate if you are willing to listen and react.
In this article we’ve put together a guide that will help you turn your detractors into ambassadors who passionately promote your brand.
1. Quick Feedback Loops
Once a low NPS score is received it should become your first priority to respond to customers’ feedback as soon as possible.
A prompt response can prevent things from getting escalated. One unfavorable feedback that doesn’t receive a response can lead to additional brand-damaging comments on various websites.
Addressing your customers’ concerns quickly demonstrates that you are genuinely concerned about their satisfaction and that your business puts client interests first. A good rule of thumb is to close the feedback loop within 24 hours.
Automation can improve your efficiency allowing you to make the most of your time. While some companies might be hesitant to use automation due to its impersonal nature, when properly implemented automated responses can be a great way of interacting with customers.
Today’s automation tools can personalize your contacts and responses in many ways that will help you take care of far more customers than you possibly could if you were using the old-fashioned way – manually.
Let’s say you want to send a personalized email to those detractors who haven’t specified why they gave you a low score. What you can do is set up a rule that will trigger an email reply to those contacts that gave your product a rating of zero through six points on NPS scale. Personalize your email by including their name, acknowledgement of their feelings, a question to find out what went wrong and a sweet thank you in the end.
A timely response can significantly minimize chances of possible damage to your reputation. Replying to your detractors within an hour rather than 48 hours can make a huge difference. Be it manually, or automatic – it should become a priority on the way to improving your customer experience.
2. Encourage the Feedback
The truth is that you have fewer fully satisfied customers than you might think. If you don’t hear a complaint, it doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. And if you don’t see it, there’s little you can do to prevent any future occurrences. Many customers who feel ignored simply stop doing business with you or switch to your competitor, without even giving you the opportunity to make their experience better.
But what if you don’t hear about the problems your customers are facing then how are you going to go about fixing them?
Make it simple for the customer to get in touch with you. If they run into another barrier of not being able to voice their complaint, that will only make them more infuriated. Don’t let the NPS survey be the only way they can reach you. Be available to provide customer support on the channel that they prefer using, a simple thing like that can brighten up their mood. Be it your website, mobile app, or social media – they should be able to complain without having to go through an additional channel.
Don’t wait until customers come to you. Be proactive in reaching out to them and asking for feedback. The best person for this job is customer success manager. The goal of CSM is to ensure that your customers achieve their desired outcome while using your product. A strong Customer Success team directs your company for listening, learning, and empathizing with your customers. This team will be the key to receiving useful feedback, discovering product flaws, and creating new revenue streams. Customer success manager will give you the opportunity to fix small problems on the initial stage before they escalate into bigger, harder to resolve ones.
In addition, put your contact information prominently across your website or email. People want to know that they can reach you. Customers are very particular of who they trust online and who they do business with, so listing your contact information is crucial when it comes to establishing credibility.
3. Show That You Care
When customers reach out to you, they want to be heard and to feel like you are on their side. Apologizing and relating with simple phrases like “I’d be upset too if that happened to me,” can do the trick. Overall tonality should express that they as a customer matter to you and you both are facing this challenge.
Beware of the script. Customers can often understand that you are following the script. And it might make them feel like “I’m just another problem”. Try to make the emotional connection with your customers and give them a sense that you are in a conversation with them. Speak to them in a friendly and engaging tone. Appear eager to solve their concern. Occasional emoticon might actually mellow down even the most frustrated customer. Typically customers prefer casual tone, act like human, not a robot.
Listening is another crucial element of showing that you care. You should get a sense of how your customers feel by paying attention to the tone of voice and punctuation – are they stressed, angry or frustrated. Knowing this information can help you choose the right approach.
Sometimes it can take time to implement the suggestions or feedback received from your customers right away, so it is important to inform your customers that their feedback is being considered and used. If you can’t fix the issue, make sure to explain why. Be honest with them. Honest business practices inspire customers. That means employees will work harder and consumers will buy more of your product. We like people who are honest, so it makes sense that customers like companies who are honest, too.
You won’t always have the solution, but you can always empathize with your customers and make them feel heard. There have been cases when customer support was unable to solve a problem, but left the client feeling that the company did everything in its power to genuinely help its customer.
Poet Maya Angelou wrote, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” Always make sure that the interaction you had with your customer will leave behind a good memory.
4. Delight Your Detractors
When you have a detractor that comes to you the first thing you need to do is come up with a solution. Each feedback is unique, so your solution should be unique as well. But this step is tricky, solving their problem wouldn’t be enough, you need to go out of your way to make them feel special and respected.
Give your customers even more than they asked for, “wow” them, make them feel like they are your most valued customer. That requires you to go a step beyond just solving the problem. Sometimes it may involve reaching out personally, discounting the product, offering free shipping or even offering it free of charge. Customer service at this level isn’t cheap. But it’s very effective. It increases customer satisfaction and the likelihood that they will tell others about your product/service, leading to positive word-of-mouth.
Take Zappos as an example. They are known to go to extremes when it comes to customer service, all that – to create extremely loyal customer base. The company has even been known to shop at other stores for customers when they didn’t have the pair of shoes customers wanted! They treat each customer as a unique challenge, which needs to be solved. Imagine what results you can achieve with a client experience strategy like that.
But often it happens that detractors don’t come forward, they give you a score and don’t give you an open feedback as to why they weren’t satisfied. One advice that we like to give to our clients is – before reaching out to detractors, do some research in other engagement and customer behavior metrics to see what obstacles the customer had along the way. After you found the cause of the potential complaint contact the detractor and provide him with the solution to the problem he experienced. Now the chance that he will engage in a conversation is much higher.
Be sure not to sound defensive. Don’t blame customers for not going an extra step to solve their own issue. This will only lead to negative consequences, as customers end up feeling like they’re stupid and that they have been handled in a non-personalized fashion. Instead, just apologize that you didn’t meet their expectations.
From time to time a problem may occur that would leave the customer feeling extremely angry and mistreated. To resolve cases like this, have someone from the board of directors reach out to this person. It feels good, as a customer, to feel that your satisfaction is a top priority.
Everyone knows that nothing is perfect, once in a while things can go wrong, problems can happen. What matters is how you deal with these cases. By making things right in a way that even your detractors turn into promoters, you differentiate yourself from the competition. You will have an army of promoters if your customers are confident that you would address any problem that might arise.
5. Learn From Your Mistakes
Bill Gates said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” If all you want is for your NPS score to be high – you are wrong. Net Promoter System is not about who gets the higher score, it’s about addressing the issues reported by customers, closing the loop and building trust.
Treat each feedback as a chance to become better. Detractors are a valuable source for providing you with an honest feedback – what you need to improve to create a better experience for your customers and distinguish yourself from the competition.
A customer who had an unpleasant experience but was overjoyed by the way you handled their complaint is more likely to become a passionate advocate for your brand than someone who is indifferent or even satisfied.
By truly listening to your detractor, you can turn unfavorable feedback into an opportunity to drive growth for your business.
Start Converting Your Detractors
Figuring out how many detractors or promoters you have isn’t always easy. Employing the right tools gives you a competitive advantage and makes communication with your customers easier. NPS can help you identify who in your company is on the edge of churning or who loves your company so much, that if given the resources will act as a brand advocate. Start converting your detractors into promoters today.