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How to Turn a Negative Customer Experience Into a Positive One

One of the easiest ways to build trust is to turn a negative customer experience into a positive one. Here's a few simple ways to do so.

Turn a Negative Customer Experience Into a Positive One

One of the challenges businesses have to deal with in a real-time online world is a negative customer interaction. These can happen anywhere a customer engages with your brand – in store, online, phone support, social media, etc. Before social media, when a customer had a bad interaction with a business, the best they could do is tell their friends or write to the business using a feedback form. Neither of which would usually result in any major publicity. But now, they can tweet about it, Facebook about it, blog about it, leave a review about it, or otherwise share it in a way that has the potential to get worldwide attention.

A lot of businesses tend to brush negative customer interactions under the rug. Others convince themselves “bad publicity is still publicity.” Smart businesses have found ways to turn the negative experience into a positive one. And by doing this, they have received benefits beyond just changing the mind of that one customer. In this post, we’re going to look at ways you can turn a negative customer experience into a positive one, and how it can have a strong impact on your business as a whole.


Three Ways to Turn Negative Customer Experiences Into Positive Ones

First, let’s look at how you can turn any negative customer experience into a positive one. These are the three steps you need to take.


1. Respond to the Customer

In most cases, when you find a bad review about your business on a site like Yelp or see a negative tweet about your business in your Twitter newsfeed, you’ll only need to respond to that customer. The reason your response is so important is that mediums like review sites and social networks are public, meaning that anyone can see your customer’s negative feedback as well as your response to that feedback. 

Such conversations are not only shared with a company's, and the person with the complaint, followers, but the public at large. The public is able to see that an organization responded quickly and handled the problem. This makes the customer happy and shows the public that the company cares about its customers.

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2. Respond to the Public

If a negative customer experience has gone beyond one customer and has received public attention, then you will need to respond to the public. Depending on the level of attention received, this could be done through a post on your business’s Facebook page, a press release, releasing a blog post, or responding to a news interview. Even major brands know when to issue a public apology, like this one when Target’s customer data was breeched.

Yesterday we shared that there was unauthorized access to payment card data at our U.S. stores. The issue has been identified and eliminated. We recognize this has been confusing and disruptive during an already busy holiday season. Our guests’ trust is our top priority at Target and we are committed to making this right.

We want our guests to understand that just because they shopped at Target during the impacted time frame, it doesn’t mean they are victims of fraud. In fact, in other similar situations, there are typically low levels of actual fraud. Most importantly, we want to reassure guests that they will not be held financially responsible for any credit and debit card fraud. And to provide guests with extra assurance, we will be offering free credit monitoring services. We will be in touch with those impacted by this issue soon on how and where to access the service.

We understand it’s been difficult for some guests to reach us via our website and call center. We apologize and want you to understand that we are experiencing unprecedented call volume. Our Target teams are working continuously to build capacity and meet our guests’ needs.

We take this crime seriously. It was a crime against Target, our team members, and most importantly, our guests. We’re in this together, and in that spirit, we are extending a 10% discount – the same amount our team members receive – to guests who shop in U.S. stores on Dec. 21 and 22. Again, we recognize this issue has been confusing and disruptive during an already busy holiday season. We want to emphasize that the issue has been addressed and let guests know they can shop with confidence at their local Target stores. 

3. Monitor Mentions of Your Brand

The timing of your response, either to one customer or to the public, is crucial when it comes to the effectiveness of its resolution. This is why it’s important to monitor your brand online. This can include mentions of your business name, public figures within your business (think Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook), and names of unique products or services you offer.

You can do it on your own using tools like Google Alerts, which will send you an email anytime one of your brand’s keywords is mentioned online, setting up a brand name search on Twitter, or trying tools like Radian6 which will allow you to comprehensively monitor your brand across multiple platforms, as shown in the video. 


In addition to monitoring your brand online, be sure that you have a plan in place that identifies who should deal with particular issues, and what to do if those issues escalate to widespread media attention.


The Impact on Your Business

So what is the impact of providing positive customer service online? Statistics show that:

  • It’s 6 – 7 times more costly to attract a new customer than it is to retain one. Tweet This
  • 89% of consumers stop doing business with a company after a poor customer service experience. Tweet This
  • 55% of consumers will pay more for a better customer experience. Tweet This

This means that you will retain more of your customers by turning negative customer experiences into positive ones, and that those customers will be wiling to pay for your products and services because of your customer service. If you do an exceptional job, they may even become your brand ambassadors.

Also, because most of the engagements between your business and your customers are public, it gives new customers the chance to see you in action, and it could prove the difference between their choosing to do business with you or your competitors!

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