A few years ago when a customer had a bad experience they told their friends and the story typically ended there. The cost to the business was the loss of one customer and a few of his or her friends. For businesses with a large number of customers, the loss of a few customers was just part of the cost of doing business. But the Internet is forcing every business, both large and small, to completely rethink their procedures for handling a dissatisfied customer.
On the Internet an unhappy customer can:
- Post a bad review on Yelp, a frequent source for business reviews for many potential customers
- Post a negative comment on Facebook telling all of their friends and family
- Post a negative comment on Twitter linking your company name to the bad experience
- Post a bad review on Google Places, a frequent search result for people searching online for your business
On the Internet, one bad experience now potentially affects business with hundreds and potentially thousands of customers. So what does a business do when they are faced with an unhappy customer? The simple answer is to try to make it right either through a sincere apology, a discount or a refund. The costs of a liberal resolution policy will be far less than the cost of Internet damage control.
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