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How to Bounce Back After a Bad Customer Experience: Survey Insights

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The best marketing strategy is a happy customers. But what do you do when your customer has a bad customer experience?

We asked 1000 consumers what would trigger them leaving a negative review or social media post about your business, and here’s what they said.

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So, What’s Bugging Your Customers?

We asked our respondents about the specific experiences that would push them to leave a negative review or social media post.

The top cause of a bad customer experience? Rude employees. A whopping 34% cited this as the main reason for a poor review or post. Poor quality and non-ethical behavior came in as close seconds, each with around 20% of the votes. Interestingly, only 15% of respondents said that cleanliness would drive them to air their grievances online.

rude employees are the cause of bad customer experience

Now, before you panic, note that not every negative experience guarantees a scathing review or social media rant.

a bad customer experience doesn't mean customers will post a bad review

Most people we surveyed had a neutral stance on this question.

Fixing the Damage – What Customers Want

So, let’s say the worst has happened, and you find your business on the receiving end of a negative review. What can you do to make things right? According to our survey results, these are the top three ways to win back your customers:

after a bad customer experience a refund is safe, but a refund, plus an extra something is better
  1. Full refund: Most customers (34%) expect their money back if they’ve had a bad experience. This may hurt a bit in the short term, but it’ll likely earn you their trust and continued patronage.
  2. Refund with a coupon: This option is a close second. Your customers understand that mistakes happen, so offering them a nice discount on their next purchase can nudge them to give you another chance.
  3. Store credit or gift card: Let’s sweeten the deal by giving them something at a higher value than their original purchase. This will not only compensate for the inconvenience but may also secure future business.

How to Avoid Poor Reviews and Make it Right

Armed with this feedback from 1,000 consumers, let me share with you some tips to help keep those pesky negative reviews at bay and ensure customer satisfaction:

  1. Hire good people and train them well: Be clear on how you expect them to treat your customers (even the difficult ones) and pay a fair wage. A well-trained and fairly compensated team will represent your business in the best light.
  2. Empower your employees: An empowered employee can resolve issues on the spot, letting your customers walk away with a positive experience.
  3. Your go-to move: Refund plus a little extra: If you’ve tried all else and still ended up with an unhappy customer, remember that most people say that a full refund plus a little something extra to make them feel valued will do the trick.

Other Ways to Respond When a Customer Complains

Dealing with customer complaints is super important for keeping your business’s reputation shiny and building trust with your customers. Here are some strategies you can use when responding to those not-so-happy customers:

Quick and thoughtful responses: Make sure to address customer concerns ASAP, but also take a moment to craft a response that shows you really get their issue.

Honesty and kindness: Be upfront and truthful in your reply, and always keep a polite and empathetic tone while talking to unhappy customers.

Find areas to improve: Dive into negative feedback to spot any common issues that might need some attention in your business operations or customer service practices.

Show-off your amazing customer service: Use customer complaints as a chance to prove your commitment to top-notch customer service. This can help rebuild trust and maybe even turn a negative situation into a positive one.

Spread the love with positive reviews: Feature those glowing testimonials and great feedback on your website and marketing materials to balance out any bad vibes from customer complaints.

Turn Negative Experiences into Competitive Advantage

At the end of the day, what people really want is a smooth and enjoyable shopping experience, and the good news is that this is all under your control.

With everyone feeling a bit tense these days (both customers and employees), it’s even more important to do the best you can to provide your customers with the best experience. That doesn’t mean everything has to be perfect. Stuff happens. So plan for it.

  • Create a “Make it Right” program and budget for it.
  • Give your team the authority to make it right.
  • Use this program as an incentive for your team to focus on being helpful, knowledgeable, and friendly.

While it might seem like it’s eating into your profits, but think about it – it pushes you and your team to do better and shows your customers that you’re willing to learn from your mistakes.

So, in the grand scheme of things, the best marketing for your business doesn’t have to empty your pockets, but it does need some time and teamwork investment. Let’s make it happen!

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