“Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up”-
That isn’t just a movie quote, but a philosophy of life. It holds true for corporations who have been named-and-shamed online, and bounced back to come up with a solution to reclaim their standing. In our era of digitalization, customers have a lot more power than they used to before.
Imagine you are a customer and a faulty product is delivered to you by an ecommerce company. You go ahead and complain to their customer service hotline. They come up with an excuse that the time limit for replacing an order is passed and they can’t help you with it. In previous times, you were powerless to hold them accountable and show their style of working to the world. But now, it has all changed. You have social media accounts and review websites, which allow you to post about the customer, experience. This goes on to gain traction and the company is forced to resolve your issue for fear of the harm to their reputation. All you have to do is go online and write a few sentences; that is enough to put pressure on any firm, which hopes to gain new customers.
The Value OF Negativity
Negativity is harmful for everyone and are meant to avoid for a reason- negativity leaves you irritated, frustrated, angry, and is enough to ruin a good day. When customers get negative, it is contentious and you need great skills to handle situations like that. Moreover, it is a telling sign of your ability to provide great customer service in tough times.
It seems customers do not get negative without a reason. That reason might be you not meeting the customer halfway in delivering a great service, delays in communication, or providing a good or service, which isn’t fulfilling the need, it was supposed to. Some of the examples can be:
- Placing an order is taking too much of their time or the refund amount hasn’t been received for days
- You delivered a faulty product to them or it reached them late.
- They are in a tight spot and need your services to be quick, which you can’t provide because of bottleneck processes.
Even these are not enough to sow the seeds of hatred against your company in the customers’ hearts. To figure out why a customer decides to take their anger online, we need to delve into the many reasons, which could have sparked their frustration. Why will a customer use every resource at hand to defame a company? Let’s have a deeper look:
1. Lost Opportunities
The prime reason a customer goes on an online rampage against the company is that they exercised every option available to them for getting help. There are two factors coupled together which could have resulted in that; the company failed to admit their fault and didn’t resolve the issue when the customer requested them.
Why is it relevant?
· A missed chance to right a wrong doesn’t equate to disaster- like you didn’t try to convert a satisfactory customer experience into a wonderful one. However, the distinction between a “wasn’t great” and “I am never going back to them” customer experience is just as small. That distinction will only be evident when you are on the pathway to become a customer-obsessed company.
· Customers will exhaust every option at hand before talking to you. This means that companies which welcome customer experimentation, a/b testing, data analysis, and focus on customer reviews will know exactly what the customer expects from them. That helps in cutting down any likelihood of a gap in expectations from one another.
2. Communication Barriers
Customer frustration can’t be attributed to a single reason. Their anger might have been sparked due to multiple reasons. It can be blamed on extensive policies and procedures, which have left the customer bewildered, or the customer might have had an argument with a service representative. The reasons might differ, but push a customer too much and they will use every resource at hand to target your company.
How Is It Important?
· As always, communication is the key to solving all problems. Every company nowadays uses multiple channels for communication with their customers. That includes calling, chat, text messages, emails, and social media handles. You have to be present on every channel or sometimes resort to limiting the number of channels you are using to for a more focused approach.
· Even after that, companies don’t follow a rigorous method of recording previous customer interactions and transactions. When a customer pings a company on the chat box and starts talking about his/her order directly, representatives don’t have the required information to serve them well or come up with an appropriate response. That is enough to push the customer off the edge.
3. False Hopes
Companies tend to use exaggerated claims while promoting a product or service; using just the right words to make the customer think the company delivers a far better standard than they actually do. Once the cat is out of the bag, people tend to stop using the services of the company and look for better options. For some of the customers, it is unbearably infuriating that they were lied to by the company, so much so that they tend to take their vengeance on companies on public platforms.
Is it Relevant?
· False promises might be the topmost reason customer gets angry at the company. It is much better to set lower expectations and deliver a much higher standard of service than overpromising and under delivering. More than half the customers say that companies are unable to fulfill the claims they make at the start. The situation is so bad that customers have come to expect this kind of behavior from companies.
· We are not usually able to see it, but companies use signals to target the subconscious mind and make promises more times than we can imagine. Realistically, only few are able to live up to the promises made- others fail even after trying. Moreover, if the promises are in alignment with the company’s brand imagery, customers will remember it for a long time to come.
4. Breaking The Trust You Have Built
Brands manipulate the customers and get them to repose their trust in them, however, most fail to live up to their words and promises, leading to feeling of betrayal in customers’ minds. This is a slippery slope to put your customers on, and it is doubtful that you will ever get them to trust you once you lose their trust. Customers feel that they have no option but to go online and share their terrible experiences with the world.
How does it matter?
· Every person who has ever put in a complaint to a company has expected prompt responses; more so because we live in a time where companies thrive on customer service standards. If we talk about social media, people expect responses within 2-24 hours. If we talk about email, people can wait upto two days for a response. Take longer time than usual, and you become the reason customer comes back angry at the company. If you don’t have the manpower to deal on all fronts, go for one of those call center outsourcing companies to help you out with handling customers.
· The winds of change are always swaying customer expectations. Once the customers were happy with mediocre services taking it as being the norm out there. Now, customers have much higher expectations than before. Recent reports suggest that almost half the people won’t be a company’s client if they have to keep on repeating their story. That means they don’t want to keep on recounting the experience to different people from the same company. Be sure to keep that in mind or you will be losing customers faster than you can imagine.
5. Moral Duties
When a customer has faced the brunt of a company’s terrible service or product; they are likely to believe that putting up a fight with the company is a matter of ethics. By bringing the truth out, the customers think that they aren’t only saving future buyers from a terrible company, but also going in the right direction of doing public service. In effect, this makes them go an extra mile to smear the company’s name.
Why Is It A Concern?
Frustrated customers are one thing, but pushing them to an extreme will bury all hopes of ever retaining them or starting from scratch. These customers don’t think that the company deserves a second chance after providing such an awful experience. Almost 60% of customers refuse to engage with the company after a terrible experience- and almost half of these customers remain angry at the company for years to come.
One bad customer experience is more than enough to set you on pathway at the end of which, the customers will have a clash with you. Customers who face issues on matters crucial to their experience will likely look for alternatives. Almost half the customers who have faced a terrible customer experience will choose a competitor over you, only because the experiences was personally momentous.
6. When You Stoke The Fire
Some people say that hate can be the ultimate motivator, which can be used to leave a deep impact. When you irritate a customer so much that he/she comes to hate you, the customer can use any method he/she thinks will harm you the most- the uncertainty here is what makes it so terrifying.
How will it affect me?
· If you are lucky, an angry customer will only stop using your services and won’t try to harm your company. Stats prove that angry customers are likely to share their bad experiences with almost 15 people; that is more than enough to harm your word-of-mouth marketing strategy. 35% of people will go ahead and post negative reviews about the company on social media or review websites.
· 73% of customers say that valuing their time is the first thing a company can do to improve their standard of services. 33% get the angriest when they are put on hold. If you don’t want the customers to get hell-bent on destroying your company, then value their time.
Where do we go from here?
Delivering excellent customer service consistently is what corporations are all about nowadays. It doesn’t matter how good you are, some cases tend to go out of hand even when you are doing your best. That might be because of unreasonable customer expectations or customers only looking to vent it out. If you are unable to handle huge volumes of customers and provide the service you want, look towards customer service outsourcing as an option.
There will always remain the fear of a customer putting negative reviews about you online. It would be foolish to assume that you can control everything happening around you, a much better strategy would be to get to the root of problem.
After the split, you have no option but to let the situation be for a while. After that, you can move to contact the customer and convey every reason you couldn’t deliver the solution. You can hear their side of the story and ask sincerely if there is anything you can do help them out. It might make them change their mind and remove the comments they put up online.
At the very least, it will make you understand the experience from customer’s perspective. After all, learning is growing; this might even make you regain their trust. It will enable you to set your company on the right path by targeting the right customers, identifying strategies, and rise up to deliver excellent customer service.