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Bouncing Back From a Bad Customer Experience

Crystal Garrett
24 Apr, 2018

Whether you’re doing business B2B or B2C or both, every customer desires to come away with a good experience. Every customer has expectations to be met or exceeded. When companies fall short of meeting either one, no matter how good the brand or business reputation, this constitutes a bad experience and the company is responsible for making the customer whole again, if given the chance.

According to Customer Strategy consultant, Esteban Kolsky, 91% of unhappy customers who are non-complainers simply leave. And if we’re talking about merciless millennials who switch with a click, that second chance you’re hoping for is very slim. 62% of them say they’ll do the switcheroo. But if you’re given a chance to get right (and not left), here is some advice to help you stay true to customer centricity.


What We Mean By Customer Experience

To be certain we’re on the same page, here’s how we define customer experience: it is everything customers perceive, feel, and remember, empathetically related to both their social reality and personal (or professional) needs before, during, and after a purchase.

Every interaction with any given department at any given time is all a part of your customers journey. How the customer perceives your company and feels during their interaction determines what kind of memory is stored – good or bad.

Take It To Heart

During this era of hyper innovation and digitalization, it’s easy to lose focus of what matters most, the heart of the customer. Customers are unique individuals who want to know you care about them and their business. Make contact with them personally when things go awry. Don’t bury your head in the sand. Tend to them as you’d like to be tended to in the same situation. That is what customer centricity is about. 

Remember, websites like Yelp are out there just waiting to have your customers tell the world what they really think. Ignoring the issue doesn’t make it go away, but it’s a sure way to keep your customer from ever coming back and new customers from coming in.

Sorry Goes A Long WayBouncing_pic-559550-edited

The first responder to the disgruntled customer should always offer a genuine apology first and foremost. After you allow them to vent their frustrations, say two words, “I’m sorry…” and let them know you appreciate their business.

This is a great tactic to allay hostility and calm the waters. It also sets you up to offer them a worthy solution that may just put a smile on their face. News of bad service reaches twice as many people than praiseworthy service.

Count The Cost

It is 6-7x more expensive for companies to attract new customers than to keep existing ones. Yep. So, when you think to yourself, “It’s just one customer”, think again. That one angry customer will tell at least 15 people. And Helpscout notes that for every 1 customer who bothers to complain, 26 other customers remain silent!

You’ve heard that classic blues song, “Cheaper to Keep Her.” Replacing customers costs companies billions. Do everything you can to retain them. It adds up.

A Worthy Solution

Some of the worst experiences can be turned into something good. Offer a discount, complimentary monthly subscription, a gift card. It’s been said that a bad experience is an opportunity to win a customer for life. It creates a memorable experience.

As mentioned in the book, The Intuitive Customer, by Professor Ryan Hamilton and Colin Shaw, memories are stored according to the Peak-end Rule. What happens at the peak and at the end of the experience is what drives our memory formation. If you can give it a happy ending, it will be remembered.

Equip and Empower Your Frontline

These are the first people customers call on. When trouble hits in the customer experience ecosystem, be sure to have your team ready to bring resolve. Don’t make them pass the buck to your customers to get an issue resolved. Allow them to answer questions and make offers for a do-over.


We’ve all had bad experiences. When handled with care, we tend to be forgiving and give a second chance. When you completely blow it and lose a customer, be determined to deliver great experiences moving forward to build positive word of mouth and keep customers coming in for more.

CX is More Than Satisfaction

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