Turning Complaints into Opportunity


Everyone knows how important word-of-mouth can be to a business. According to Neilsen, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family above all else. Combine that number with these following stats, and it becomes very apparent how important it is to correctly handle customer complaints.

  • It takes 12 positive service incidents to make up for 1 negative incident.
  • The average “wronged customer” will tell 8-l6 people about it. Over 20% will tell more than 20.
  • Happy customers who have their problems resolved will tell 4-6 people about their positive experience.
  • Customer loyalty can be worth up to 10 times as much as a single purchase

Every brand in every industry is going to make mistakes, and these mistakes can often be magnified when they are out in the open for everyone to see on social media. There are a few brands out there who excel at turning these potential downfalls into customer service successes. Andy Sernovitz of SmartBlogs highlights 3 strategies used to win over upset customers:

  • Make them laugh: There’s obviously a time and a place for jokes when it comes to fielding customer complaints, but a good sense of humor can be disarming and personal enough to defuse a negative comment while showing you’re human.
  • Be vigilant: No matter what their concern, your customers will appreciate a fast response — even if you’re just acknowledging the issue and letting them know you’re on it. For example, when one cyclist was almost hit by a UPS truck, he tweeted about the incident — and when he got home, he was contacted within several minutes by their social media team. He later blogged about being blown away by the company’s careful attention on his blog.
  • Make it personal: Dell allows their employees to answer customer service concerns with their real names and sometimes post unscripted videos of them working out problems. When your community managers can reply in their own voice, it reminds negative commenters there’s a real person behind your company’s social media page — it also let’s them know a real person cares.

At the end of the day, just showing the customer you care speaks volumes. Remember, the customer is always right.



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