Psychology of customer  defection in a digital world
Article

Psychology of customer defection in a digital world

Take aways
  • Customers want fast responses when they complain, or they leave you.
  • Creative and empathetic responses to complaints turn negative experience into positive.
  • Social media is a powerful channel to engage and pacify complaining customers.

Dissatisfied customers want fast responses that effectively address their concerns. Therefore, a customer-centric approach to social media is to listen to and engage with complaining customers, not just dump them marketing messages unilaterally. Customer-facing staff should also be given room and training to creatively and empathetically respond to complaints, and turn negative incident into relatively positive experience.

Customers who are unhappy with your service, or don’t feel listened to, increasingly publicise their complaints on social media. They hope a wide reach of their complaints elicits a fast response. However, many organisations are still using social media mainly as a marketing tool, blasting their followers with marketing messages but ignoring customers who complain or need assistance.

Make the most out of social media

When you are offering a service, the experience is your brand. When customers are blasting you on social media, they have likely tried other attempts to resolve the issues or contact you but to no avail. Therefore, ignoring upset customers likely escalates their frustration and impacts your brand.

In fact, through social media, organisations can monitor and engage proactively with customers in public conversations. This also helps anticipate complaints and resolve issues before they are escalated. It pays off to shift front-line customer communication to service from marketing, and train staff to monitor and handle customer needs on social media.

Turn negative into positive

Things do go wrong. That’s part of life. Customers may not expect perfect service, but they do expect you to handle it satisfactorily. When a negative experience occurs, you must listen to your customers, show them that you care and are empathetic. This way, the incident can be turned into a positive one.

Ignoring customer issues is detrimental to your brand. For example, the use of hashtags such as #BrandFail is common practice among customers who are active on Twitter. It has become a tool for spreading a negative reputation online that is difficult to control.

Customers follow you on social media to interact with you, not to be fed information.

Customers don’t complain, they leave

On average, acquiring new customers costs five times more than retaining your existing ones. Listening to your customers and creating meaningful relationship with them show that you care and are able to retain them. 96% of unhappy customers don’t bother to complain about a bad service. They simply leave you. Research show that customers are most likely dissatisfied after signing up to a new service. Therefore, by actively assisting customers to be on board dramatically improves your retention.

96% of unhappy customers won’t even bother to complain about dissatisfying service, they will simply defect.

A competitive advantage

Customers who interact with you on social media want to be listened to and expect a fast response. On average, 83% of users do not continue a purchase due to poor customer service via social media platforms. On the other hand, customers who have a satisfying experience are likely to spend 20%-40% more than the ones who don’t.

Empower your staff on social media

A standard response to complaints oftentimes makes the customers even more upset. Therefore, empowering staff to use their own judgement, creativity and empathy to respond to customers’ queries is the first step towards better customer engagement. Enabling staff to draw from their personal experience and respond to customers as individuals makes a superior customer experience.

Be creative and empathetic

When customers take time to voice their dissatisfaction on social media, they expect to be listened to, understood and helped. However, they often get a scripted response that likely upsets them even more. By empowering your staff to creatively and empathetically respond to complaints, it turns negative incident into relatively positive experience.