How to transform the Dissatisfied into Paying Customers

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Samuel Leach, CEO and founder of Samuel & Co. Trading


With competitors reachable through a click, customers will only stay loyal to a company if they have good reason to, making customer loyalty more crucial than ever. By ensuring you are providing the best in customer service, you can increase and maintain trust in your brand while continuing to provide good quality products or services. Though negative reactions online to your business might seem a threat to your brand, if managed proactively, you will be able to turn the critics into paying customers in no time.

Turn criticism into advocacy

By reacting dismissively, defensively or negatively in response to any form of negative feedback, you will only manage to alienate or distance the customer. Not only that, any potential customers coming across the feedback might also be unimpressed by the situation and from the way you’ve handled it. Therefore, the most effective way to respond is to ensure you’re showing authenticity and honesty. Respond in a way that demonstrates respect for the critic’s views, are concerned about their negative experience, and genuinely want to improve. 

Furthermore, negative reviews in public that aren’t acknowledged by the brand can reflect badly for the company— if people perceive that the problem has been ignored, they are likely to believe your business has poor customer service and isn’t willing to learn from its mistakes or value the customers’ experience. If people see the problem is being addressed, they will therefore be more likely to trust your brand. In showing that you intend to do better than before and solve the problem, you can transform a critic into an advocate of your business. By responding quickly and directly, and by demonstrating transparency, a clear willingness to be amenable, the initially dissatisfied will be more likely to mention your brand in a favourable light to others, or to become— or continue being— a paying customer themselves. 

Provide resolution with a solution 

Look at what you are able to do to solve a problem instead of what you can’t. In offering a solution, you are demonstrating a desire to improve and a willingness to please your customer. Think about offering the negative commentator something to change their mind, or communicating a wider change in your service or product that would help, if not now, then in the future and for others with a similar problem. Where appropriate, see if you can add a personal touch to the response so that the critic feels you value them. Always be sure to provide a time-frame during which this resolution can be expected so as to avoid adding to their dissatisfaction by then appearing to delay further. 

Be sure to follow up and check that your solution has resolved the situation and satisfied the complainant, otherwise you could face ending up with additional negative backlash over the inadequacy of your response.  

Teach your critics

Try and be as transparent about your business, its aims, and how you’re achieving them, as you can. Customers find value in feeling connected to a brand they perceive to be genuine, and therefore honesty is important. If you’re open about any issues you are coming up against, people are more likely to be forgiving and indeed, to view your brand in a positive light. Admitting your failure when you’ve made mistakes, or making public apologies, isn’t often as damaging to a business as many will fear. Consequently, admitting your weakness when the time is right can be seen as a strong move and impress customers. 

If you take the time to inform and educate others about what you’re doing, customers will understand your brand better, and therefore be less likely to feel they have been deceived at all. 

Be bold

Keep responding and maintain your method of dealing with negative feedback until you receive the result you’re looking for— try not to let less than satisfactory reactions get you down. Each negative comment can be seen as a spotlight upon the ways you need to improve, and can help you find out where you’re going wrong. This means criticism can be used as a motivator to better yourself. 

Ensure you record feedback so that you can also identify any noticeable patterns and respond when you need to. A clear trend in feedback might mean you need to alter your business model or make a significant change, and so it would be an error to ignore criticisms and hope the negative feedback stops of its own accord. 

Through carrying out these simple strategies, you can easily turn dissatisfaction into sales. Remind yourself that no one’s customer experience can remain consistently flawless, and that those displaying passionate dissatisfaction are revealing a strength of feeling that, with the right moves, can be transformed into advocacy.