3 Ways to Use Unhappy Customers to Grow Your Business

It’s easy to handle a happy, grateful customer—but what about the unhappy ones?

Angry customers can help your business grow.
Angry customers can help your business grow.

You can’t run from them. But rather than being weighed down and taking it personally when a relationship with a customer goes sour, use it as a learning experience, and use the leverage to help grow your business. Here’s how.

1. Respond to public customer service issues in public.

With social media enabling customers to reach a large number of people at once, be on the lookout for customers airing their grievances in public. This is a fantastic opportunity, not only to respond to the complaint and try to make it right, but to show the public how you address these kinds of issues and to articulate your own side of the story.

If the customer’s demands are unreasonable, your calm and reasoned response will have the public’s sympathy, not the other way around. Think of it as valuable free advertising for your fantastic customer service!

2. Enjoy the free feedback.

If you want to implement some changes, you could spend money testing a focus group—or you could go ahead and implement them and see what happens.

If your customers are unhappy with something you’re doing, they’ll tell you (far more readily than they would tell you about being satisfied, by the way). If your team has changed the way your prices are presented, and you get ten emails a day from people who are confused and annoyed by a complicated presentation, you might be doing something wrong.

To boost this, you might also take advantage of the negative sentiment by sending out a questionnaire designed to get even more specific feedback. People will be happy to tell you where you’re going wrong, and you’ll be able to salvage their good will by showing them how much you value your customers and how serious you take their comments. Win/win!

3. Use the challenge as an opportunity to strengthen your customer service.

How you handle your customers after a sale is just as important as how you handle new customers, if not more so; a repeat customer saves you money on advertisement, and it’s worth doing what you can to keep them coming back.

As customers, we’ve all had that glowing customer service moment we still recall fondly, where there was a wrinkle in a purchase or transaction and the representative truly cared about our problem and did everything possible to fix it.

If you can take messy customer service situations and turn them into positive experiences, you’ll be well on your way to turning customers into fans!

How have you turned a negative customer service experience into a positive one? Tell us about it in the notes!

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