Why great customer service can turn an unsatisfied customer into a returning consumer.

Things happen, customers get upset and chaos can ensue. We encourage you to remember that it’s easier to retain a loyal customer than it is to gain a new one. So, here’s how you keep them. 
BRACT Team
September 23, 2021
Why great customer service can turn an unsatisfied customer into a returning consumer.

First, let’s define what an unsatisfied consumer is.

We know you’re trying your hardest to deliver the best experience. Keep going. 

The branding, packaging, shopping bags, architecture & smell of the store, lighting, clothing your staff is wearing, their smiles, their attitudes, the design of your bill, the goodies you give (or don’t), the music, etc. These are all contributing factors that will contribute to how your customers experience your business. 

It can also be the E-Commerce website, your follow-up email, the delivery system, etc. 

Everything must be thought through, considered, and controlled.

Sounds a little crazy, right? Maybe so. But if something slips up, you can lose a customer’s trust and loyalty in a second. You can do everything in your power to avoid this scenario, but it happens to everyone because, well, you can’t please everyone. 

Sometimes it’s not enough and you have to face what every entrepreneur fears: an unsatisfied consumer, or worse: a dissatisfied customer.

Whether it comes from the product or the service itself: there’s one and only rule: the consumer is always right. (Even if they’re not). 

You read that correctly. Even if they're really mean (looking for an alternative for ’asshole') they’re right, no matter how wrong they are.

So frustrating, we know. But we’re going to break it down for you. 

Why an unsatisfied consumer is always right:

  • If they’re paying for a service you offer, and you didn’t complete your end of the deal, it’s your fault. 
  • They’re the ones who can make or break you.  It’s either “their product is terrible, never go there” or “I tried one that didn’t fit but they did everything to find what suits best”. Neither of these are necessarily positive, but only one will deter another potential customer from going there. And what stands out the most? The customer’s experience. They didn’t find what they were looking for, but because the service was great, they might just go back to find something else. 
  • Because if you tell them they’re wrong, and don’t attempt to rectify the situation, then you could ruin your reputation. 

Due to the reasons listed above, in addition to dozens of others, choosing representatives of which the actual customers will speak to is incredibly crucial. You need people who are patient, kind, and understanding. Sure, they can have opinions and get frustrated, too. But their number one priority is ensuring that no customer walks away or ends a chat before being 100% satisfied with the result. 

Things that you may not have noticed.

When you’re in an Apple store, have you ever taken notice of how personable the store setup is? (Think, pre-corona) There’s no desk that someone sits behind, everything is out in the open. The cashiers, employees, assistants, salespeople all stand directly in front of you or next to you when helping you in-store. It’s extremely casual, which takes the pressure off of the huge charge that will soon appear on your credit card statement. It’s little things like these that can make your experience all the more memorable, and keep you coming back. And Apple, by the way, has a 92% loyalty rate according to a 2017 study (Campbell, 2017). 

Another example is Sephora. If you have an account with them, and you accumulate points, it makes you feel like a queen walking around her palace. During checkout, the clerk will ask you for a phone number or email to access your account. From that point on, they will address you by name. Short and sweet, yes. But incredibly personable, leaving a lasting impression. 

The in-store experience that you provide for your customers is identical to the one you provide electronically. You have to give the same care and attention to every detail, no matter how you choose to do so. Whether you are providing an experience in person or virtually, the way you interact with your consumers is the way in which you are marketing your company as a whole.   

E-Reputation: 

As we all know very well, anything posted on the internet lives there forever. Despite any effort to remove it and pretend it never existed, it will always remain somewhere in the digital universe.

So, with that being said, we want to explore the benefits and disadvantages of ~reviews~. 

A good review can help bring a few people in, but it takes a very significant amount to have any sort of impact on your business. Unfortunately, one bad review has the potential to destroy your business for good. (Harsh, we know). This is why ensuring your customers have a great experience with your company is so important. And what’s more? Having an even better follow-up experience will help you resonate with them for longer.

If you’re in a pickle, this is how you get out. 

So, let’s conjure up a scenario in which you have a customer that approaches you, whether it’s in a physical location or over the phone/computer via a customer service help chat. They have a problem with something they purchased from you: the quality wasn’t up to par, they’re angry (probably yelling) and they are asking for things that the customer service representative probably cannot provide (like maybe a dividend in the company, you get what we mean). 

Now, the best case scenario is that the person attempting to fix the situation has the credibility and skill to turn this situation around. 

Your first step would be to calm the customer down and empathize with them while simultaneously apologizing for the inconvenience and lack of quality of service. Now, the next step can be a multitude of things. 

About a year ago, I bought a dress from a pretty reputable clothing website. I put on the dress the day of the event, and within thirty minutes both straps broke. I immediately contacted the customer service department via email, and despite being furious about the dress, I must admit that they responded fairly quickly. They asked for photos of the torn straps and offered me a store credit to use at a later time. 

Why would I ever want to buy from them again?

I told them I wasn’t satisfied with their offer (kindly, may I add). After a few days of no response, they contacted me again saying they were refunding me completely and gifting me with a gift card to the store as an apology for the inconvenience. 

Now, the credit is still sitting in my email, but that’s not to say that I wasn’t satisfied with the way they handled it. I was angry that a beautiful dress was ruined for the one day I had to wear it, but they rectified the situation and left with a happy (one-time) customer. 

So, the lesson here is that even though they may not have wanted to give me the refund, they did, because they knew it would make me happy. I didn’t ask for anything out of the ordinary, just a refund for a product that did not serve its intended purpose. 

Fair, I’d say. Wouldn’t you? 

As a consumer and a representative, I believe that another lesson to be learned here is to appreciate a kind customer that has been let down with a service your business had promised and neglected to follow through on. Chances are, if you show them that you’re remorseful, they’ll still recommend your product to others and everyone wins. 

The most important thing is to build trust.

A business is essentially just one person talking to another person. But when one of these people has an entire team standing behind them, it can be a bit intimidating. So, when you’re a huge company versus one person, imagine how they might feel. Treat them with kindness. Once they start to trust and believe in you, it will have a ripple effect for how they feel about the rest of the team.

So, if (and probably when) something does go awry, remember that people will be more likely to forgive a bad experience as long as they trust you. Start with building that, and then move on to everything else.





Citations: 

Campbell, M. (2017, May 18). Apple's iPhone scores 92% LOYALTY rate ahead of 'IPHONE 8' LAUNCH, study finds. https://appleinsider.com/articles/17/05/18/apples-iphone-scores-92-loyalty-rate-ahead-of-iphone-8-launch-study-finds.