How to Turn Unhappy Customers into Brand Advocates?

Unhappy customers are inevitable. Because of this, you need to be equipped with the knowledge of how to deal with them to protect your brand’s reputation and bottom line.

How to Turn Unhappy Customers into Brand Advocates?

When it comes to building brand loyalty, strong customer service and brand experience are necessary.

After all, customers have an assortment of tools at their fingertips to share about their experience with your brand. And more often than not, they like to share their bad experiences to keep others from experiencing the same thing they did.

It has been reported that dissatisfied customers are likely to share their experience with somewhere between nine and 15 people, whereas only 13 percent of people will share their positive experience with up to 20 people.

Therefore, you must be willing to take strides in converting your unhappy customer into a potential brand advocate. Believe it or not, this is entirely possible.

Here’s what you’ll learn within this blog:

    What Can Make a Customer Unhappy?

    There are so many different things that can make a customer unhappy that we literally can’t mention them all. 

    In all honesty, customers may complain about literally anything, which makes it impossible to create an exhaustive list of potential complaints.

    Some of the most common complaints customers will make will be about the following:

    • Faulty products
    • Poor quality products/services
    • Incomplete/misleading product information
    • Hidden fees
    • Slow shipping or service
    • Poor customer service (from slow assistance to rude support members)
    • Hard to contact
    • Insufficient accessibility
    • Failing to keep your word
    • Limited payment options

    Don’t get too hung up on these potential complaints, though. 

    Whatever problem a dissatisfied customer brings to your attention, it is entirely possible to turn the situation around, protecting the reputation and profits of your company.

    What is the Importance of Making Your Customer Happy?

    Some businesses may not think they will deal with the problems that cause customers to become unhappy. However, customer satisfaction is key to the success of your business.

    When customers are happy, you are happy, because your business thrives.

    Here are a few statistics relating to the importance of customer satisfaction.

    • Satisfied customers are far more likely to refer your business to their family and friends. Unhappy customers, unfortunately, are more likely to spill about their “bad” experience with your brand to more people than a happy customer. And we all know how important word-of-mouth marketing is!
    • Increasing your customer retention by only two percent equates to the same as cutting your costs by 10 percent. Therefore, it is much more cost-effective to ensure your customers are always happy.

    When your customers don’t feel heard or appreciated, they will almost immediately move to one of your competitors in an attempt to find a better customer experience.

    Believe it or not, unhappy customers will stop cold in their tracks and stop doing business with your company. They won’t file a complaint or anything to inform you of their dissatisfaction.

    When you don’t even know a customer is unhappy and they simply leave, it can hurt your bottom line. After all, 80 percent of potential revenue will stem from 20 percent of your current customers.

    So, as you can see, customer satisfaction should be a top priority.

    How Can Your Business Deal with Unhappy Customers?

    Ideally, you want to stop problems before they occur. 

    When this isn’t possible (because, frankly, you are bound to receive some kind of complaint or irate customer on the other end of the phone line), you need to know how to deal with these unhappy customers.

    Remember: your customers ARE your business.

    1. Apologize to the Customer

    The very first thing you should do when you have an unhappy customer on your hands is apologize and show empathy

    While you may not believe that the customer is always right, the fact of the matter is that their demands need to be heard.

    As you apologize, you must show remorse. This is true whether the problem is within your control or out of it.

    You should express your regret, explain the problem, and make sure to acknowledge your responsibility in the matter. Don’t forget to offer repair or replacement, depending on the circumstances.

    An apology can go a long way when you are dealing with someone who has been wronged one way or another. 

    There is a better chance that you’ll be forgiven by simply apologizing the right way as opposed to offering some form of compensation.

    2. Listen to Your Customer

    Aside from apologizing, the most important step in dealing with an irate or unhappy customer is to ensure they feel like they are being heard.

    One thing that you do not want to do is try to fix the problem immediately. This may frustrate your customer more because they don’t feel like you are listening to them or that you are simply trying to get rid of them as quickly as possible.

    Remember, unhappy customers have extremely high emotions due to their dissatisfaction or anger. Therefore, you must take the time to hear what they have to say.

    Acknowledge what they are saying, and let them know you understand their frustrations.

    3. Attempt to Fix the Problem

    As soon as you have identified the problem from actively listening to your customer, it is time to offer a solution to the problem. 

    While it is true that some problems will be far easier to remedy than others, you just need to put yourself in their shoes and think about what they may like as a solution.

    Keep in mind that you may not always be able to fix or undo the problem that has occurred, but this doesn’t mean you can’t figure out an appropriate way to make it up to the customer. 

    By going out above and beyond to try to fix the problem, the customer will feel in control, respected, and important.

    Your solution doesn’t have to be a lot over what they would like, as it doesn’t take much “extra” to really satisfy upset customers and potentially turn them into a great voice for your brand. 

    You could send a handwritten apology letter, a deep discount on their next purchase, or even a considerable gift certificate.

    By turning unhappy customers into appreciated customers, you are likely to notice a spike in repeat business. 

    It’s a part of life: things go missing, things break, people fail. The key is how you make up for the inconvenience your customer has experienced.

    4. Improve Your Business

    From any conversation with an unhappy customer, you should be taking away a ton of invaluable information on how you can improve your business moving forward. 

    After all, angry and unhappy customers are going to be brutally honest with you about what you’ve done wrong and what you could do better.

    This information is imperative to improving the way you do business and distinguishing yourself from the competition.

    Chances are, if there is one customer who has experienced a negative situation, there are probably others out there that simply didn’t give you a call or send in an email about the problem.

    The good news is you can stop these issues from occurring again and impacting the customer experience now that you are aware of the problems.

    For example, if your customers are dissatisfied with your shipping speed you might consider an alliance with a courier service that offers same-day deliveries.

    Wrap Up: Unhappy Customers are Just as Important as Satisfied Customers

    No one said it was going to be sunshine and rainbows when you started your business.

    There will come a time when you must deal with a difficult customer, and this can be overwhelming and incredibly challenging.

    However, by handling the situation appropriately, there is a good chance that you can repair the bond that was broken with that customer and open up the door for repeat business.

    Always remember that every customer complaint is an ideal opportunity to minimize issues, complaints, and negative brand experiences in the future.

    If you’re looking to take your brand to new heights, consider incorporating personalized marketing, which has been shown to increase engagement rates and make customers feel more appreciated.


    Subscribe to our blog

    Sign up to receive Rock Content blog posts

    Rock Content WriterAccess - Start a Free Trial

    Order badass content with WriterAccess. Just as we do.

    Find +15,000 skilled freelance writers, editors, content strategists, translators, designers and more for hire.

    Want to receive more brilliant content like this for free?

    Sign up to receive our content by email and be a member of the Rock Content Community!