eCommerce Insiders

Negative Customer Experiences: You Can Turn Them Around!

Picture it.

You and the marketing team (and your site development team) have spent countless hours perfecting everything for your future shoppers.

Yes, the ultimate goal of developing an online retail property is to take advantage of vasts revenue generation opportunities, but there’s probably another benchmark that your company would love to hit:

Customer satisfaction. 

It’s crucial for your customers to experience a sense of satisfaction when they shop on your site because:

1. Happy customers make for repeat customers,

2. It’s far easier to market to happy, repeat customers,

3. Customers are your voluntary brand evangelists.

The last point is especially crucial for you to understand, because the message that your customers voluntarily spread about their shopping experience can trend towards the ecstatic, or the negative.

Chances are great that you’re expecting your shoppers to spread great news about their shopping experience with your company, so you have nothing set in place to deal with this.

If happy shoppers want to spread the word about your brand, then you’re probably all too glad to stand out of their way and allow them to lead their friends and family members to your e-retail site.

But what if the opposite is true?

What if the same shoppers hated their shopping experience with your company and now, they have unfettered access to platforms that allow them to tear apart your company, your brand, and all of your team’s hard work?

Is there anything that you can do to stop this, and do you have systems in place to help your team to turn things around?

Answering the first question, you can absolutely turn things around when it’s been brought to your attention that shoppers are trashing your brand. But first, let’s take a look at why they’d want to hurt your brand in the first place, along with how you should address this serious issue.

Why are They Saying Bad Things About You?

Are shoppers inherently evil? Are they a selfish force of destruction who set out to take advantage of your offerings while throwing tantrums when their every need and desire isn’t met?

It might certainly feel that way to you and your team after you catch wind of a shopper’s nasty letter, social media post, blog post, or YouTube video.

But the fact is, shoppers aren’t out to take down brands. Shoppers are humans who hope for the best when they spend their money. They want to obtain the best value for their hard-earned money, and they want to invest their money into brands that understand them, and respect them.

There are all sorts of ways that companies can display respect (or lack of respect) for their shoppers, and the shoppers can always tell. Therefore, while there are always the wild-cards who indeed throw tantrums all over the internet under unreasonable circumstances, most negative reviews and complaints come from consumers who feel either neglected, or disrespected.

How to Add Fuel to the Fire

Sometimes, the customer had a relatively great shopping experience on an e-retailer’s website, but the ball gets dropped during the customer service/resolution process.

For example, a customer might have questions about their purchase, such as delivery questions, product questions, etc. The first line of dealing with these issues rests with the customer service team.

If the customer service team isn’t prepared to handle various nuances that arises during customer inquires, or if the team comes across as dismissive or unprofessional, then customers will feel disrespected and disregarded.

This will only add fuel to the fire for a brand that’s trying to quell bad press that kills their reputation and blocks revenue generation. In other words, lack of preparation or indifference at the customer resolution/service level can absolutely kill at the hard work that was accomplished at the marketing and the retail website levels.

Specifics on Turning Things Around

The good news is that things can be turned around, and often, things can be turned around before they get out of hand in the first place!

For example, it’s crucial to educate and empower your customer service/resolution teams as much as possible. Don’t hire customer service reps based on volume-hire them based upon quality, skills, character, and reliability. Make sure to create an environment for them that gives them an incentive to execute your brand’s vision.

The same holds true for your social media teams. Although social media platforms are set up for marketing purposes, they have become the de-facto customer service lines of communication when the front-line customer service process fails customers.

Make sure that your social media managers are just as educated and as empowered as your customer service teams are. Create operational processes that allows the social media teams to handle customer issues efficiently, and most important to your brand, confidentially.

At the end of the day, consumers want to know that brands truly care about them. They want to know that they matter! Taking steps to plug any holes or discrepancies can go a long way in putting out negative customer experience fires before they begin.

But being prepared with an effective fire extinguishing system can also prevent your brand from being damaged beyond repair.

Terri is a content marketing storyteller and strategist. She teaches marketing and entrepreneurship through stories for marketers of all stripes. Her specialty is creating narrative and she writes essays and memoir in her spare time.

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