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How to turn customer enemies into customer friends

Nice slideshare here (below). I particularly think the point quite late in the Slideshare – that even customers who look like enemies on the net can be quickly turned into friends with a conversation – is extremely powerful.

It confirms some advice I read recently, but have now lost the source for; that hotel customer service or sales people should trawl through Trip Advisor and other travel sites looking for reviews of their own hotels, contact customers who post a bad review, and ask their advice on what to fix, then let them know what changes you’ve made and politely ask them if they’d consider updating their review.

Decades old research told us that a complaining customer who has their opinion turned around by a responsive organization is more loyal than a customer who has never complained. Add that to the fact that bad reviews can be seen by thousands of potential customers and therefore do untold damage to your reputation, and the cost-benefit analysis of investing time in turning around these customers is enormous.

A bad review is just free consultancy on where you need to improve. There’s an urgency in that, as long as it is unchanged, your reputation is being damaged with every potential customer who reads it. So, the clock is ticking. So, you could set up metrics based on how fast you can turn around a critical, negative review into a positive one.

This is the new marketing, kids. The old anonymous dissatisfied customers that never complain direct to you but were out there spreading negative stories about you by word of mouth were invisible to you. Invisible guerillas they used to be called. Now, they are not only visible to you, you can engage with them, contact them directly, and find out what action would turn their opinion around. Then, if it’s reasonable, do it.

If you haven’t incorporated this kind of activity in your customer engagement, service, marketing, communication or experience design , then you are behind the curve. If your mindset is “But, approaching one customer at a time can’t be cost-effective” you’re looking at it the wrong way. Think of it this way, instead: There is a negative advertisement on the web about you, reaching thousands of people. By engaging with the advertiser, you can turn it around into a positive advertisement. Does that make more financial sense to you? Because that’s the new reality.

[slideshare id=1199150&doc=howtolaunchaproductintheopen-090325201015-phpapp01]

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