Many years ago I worked with a client who classified their customers into three types. Advocates, terrorists and neutrals. Advocates were brand loyalists - those who would happily and passionately recommend the brand. Terrorists were particularly angry and negative customers - often identifiable at point of complaint. Neutrals were all the rest - they didn’t feel strongly either way.
My client had identified a fascinating fact about their customers. Brand terrorists were far more likely to become brand advocates than ‘neutrals’ – so long as their complaint was handled really well.
For this brand, converting emotion from negative to positive was easier than generating strength of positive emotion in the first place. By resolving their customer’s issues in a really empathetic, human and timely way against a backdrop of heightened emotion and low expectations, they were able to create a moment of real surprise and delight.
The opportunity was twofold. First, create a great service experience that exceeds expectations whoever and whatever the customer and call. Second, remember that when things go wrong and that ‘miserable moment’ occurs, you have a perfect, already emotionally charged opportunity to convert a complainant into a loyalist – providing you handle it well.
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