Gaining customers is hard work.
Add to that the fact that it costs up to twenty-five times more to acquire a new customer than to retain one, and it’s hefty motivation to keep customers happy.
So what happens when customers are angry and threatening to leave?
Is there any way to turn them into happy customers before it’s too late?
With a little proactivity, creativity, and assistance from technology, you can not only prevent customer churn but also convert angry customers into happy customers who provide positive references and greater lifetime value.
1. Improve the onboarding experience
The old saying “you only get one chance to make a first impression” certainly rings true in business.
- What kind of first impression are you making?
- When is the last time you evaluated your onboarding process?
- Have you received any complaints about it?
Onboarding is your first chance to show customers how you’ll treat them during your relationship with them. It sets the tone for everything that comes after it. Make sure you’re putting your best foot forward.
2. Get to know your customers
79% of customers say they are loyal to brands who make an effort to know them and to understand the problems they are trying to solve.
Companies are no longer measured against only the competitors in their own space but against exceptional customer service organizations from every industry. Rather than assume you know what your customers want– ask them questions like:
- What makes them successful?
- How does your product or service contribute to that?
- What keeps them up at night?
Taking time to ask customers how you can best serve them builds loyalty and trust.
3. Ask for Customer feedback
Angry customers are usually indicative of a much bigger problem. If the problem isn’t inherently obvious, you can’t afford to guess what it is. Instead, start collecting feedback from customers to determine what is going right and where you’re missing the mark.
And don’t just ask once.
Make it easy for customers to provide feedback on a regular basis so that you can measure and track improvements or course-correct along the way as your business matures.
With Weav, we’ve created easy to use tools for companies to not only help fight churn but to understand why customers are leaving.
4. Track customer engagement
Before you launch any customer retention programs, back up and take a look at where in the customer journey you’re losing engagement and creating angry customers.
- Is it during onboarding?
- After a new software release?
- Within the first 30 days?
By identifying the broken parts of the customer journey, you can focus your time and resources on what will truly move the customer happiness needle instead of operating by trial and error.
5. Communicate new features in advance
As Agile Development becomes the norm, many SaaS companies make the mistake of rolling out new features like thieves in the night. They neglect to tell customers what’s changing and how it will improve their operational efficiency and business outcomes.
Whether it’s a notification inside your platform or via another mode of communication, make sure you are telling customers what’s new and what’s next in your product instead of taking them by surprise.
It’s also a good way to stay in touch with customers and show them you’re continually investing in your product.
6. Build a customer success program
If you don’t have a customer success program in place, it’s not too late to build one.
You can’t afford to leave it to chance.
Customer success is an essential ingredient in creating happy customers and reducing customer churn. Not only does a good customer success program measure customer health, but it also drives customer lifetime value and provides tested, repeatable processes to ensure that your customers achieve the business outcomes you’ve promised them.
Successful customers are happy customers, and happy customers stick around.
7. Ask customers what it would take to make them happy
Before you dismiss this approach as too abstract, hear us out.
Think about the last time you were unhappy with a product or service. You most likely told someone about it, but may or may not have gone to the company to complain. Whether you complained or not, your perception of that brand was almost certainly impacted negatively.
Now, imagine if that company proactively asked for your feedback. And instead of letting it sit in a black hole, they acknowledged your unhappiness, demonstrated empathy and asked what they could do to earn back your trust.
Would your perception change?
A little empathy goes a long way when it comes to customer happiness.
8. Always follow up
You’ve asked for feedback, told the customer you care about their problem and have made adjustments to improve the customer journey.
All great steps.
But have you followed up with the customer to make sure you actually solved their problem?
Close the loop on outreach. Even if you know the answer. You’ll continue to build credibility with the customer, and they will be far less likely to churn in the future because they have an advocate that they trust.
9. Make it personal
It’s easier said than done to put on a happy face and radiate kindness when confronted by an angry customer. It’s especially hard if you didn’t create the problem in the first place.
What world-class customer experience organizations understand is that it doesn’t matter who caused the problem or if the customer is right or wrong. It is the job of every employee to be a problem solver for customers.
Personalize your interaction with the customer by using their first name. It makes your customer feel known and heard, and it tends to diffuse heated situations. Also, don’t forget to apologize for the issue.
Again, even if you had absolutely nothing to do with the issue or the customer is being unreasonable, a sincere apology for the inconvenience they are feeling goes a long way.
10. Thank them for complaining
Thank your angry customer for bringing their complaints to your attention.
Most angry customers are expecting to be fed excuses and for their complaints to fall on deaf ears.
Instead, use a potentially negative situation to build a stronger relationship with your customer. Explain to them that customer satisfaction is your highest priority and that you can’t fix what you don’t know. Make them feel like a valued part of the feedback process.
Instead of taking offense, put ego aside and look at every complaint as a way to improve your business.
11. Automate and escalate
How are you logging customer complaints and support issues?
Do you have an escalation process for high-priority customers or urgent issues?
Even the most diligent customer support teams are at risk of human error. Nothing makes a customer angrier than their issue going unresolved and unacknowledged.
With simple integrations between your customer support platform and your customer relationship management platform (CRM), your support team can log, track and escalate support issues. You can leverage pre-defined rules and alerts to make sure nothing slips through the cracks and issues are routed to the right person with the right skills to solve the issue quickly.
Consumers have countless choices between products and services. It has never been more important for companies to focus on customer satisfaction and complaint resolution.
Angry customers churn.
Happy customers evangelize for the brands they love.
Research indicates that 80% of your future profit will come from just 20% of your existing customer base. Imagine the impact to that number if you take simple steps to turn potential detractors into lifelong customers.
Don’t assume that angry customers are already lost. Make a genuine effort to solve their problem and differentiate your brand as an exceptional service provider.