Invoice Gates Says Sad Prospects Are Good for Your Enterprise. This is Why.
As you learn why your customers get unhappy, you will learn how to improve the customer experience and build loyalty.
October 22, 2020 6 min read
The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur’s contributors are their own.
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates
A while ago I used software that drove me crazy. I was so happy not to be a customer anymore that I secretly danced a little in my head. I had only become her customer three weeks earlier. When I bought this software, I was excited because it would help me get more customers.
What I didn’t realize was that it would take me almost 10 days to set up my account so that the advanced features I needed worked properly. As one day turned, I became increasingly dissatisfied with this software.
My misfortune was rooted in this: I had bought the mid-tier plan and the emails I sent to support were only replied to every 24-48 hours. If I wanted faster assistance, I would have to pay more than double my current payment as only the top tier plan had assistance on the same day. But I didn’t need the features that were available at the top level. These features were so advanced that it would be like buying a rocket to get to work. The features in the top-level plan went well beyond what I needed.
I quickly started not liking and then hating this software. In just two weeks I went from excitement to aversion to total disdain. At the end of my 30 day payment period, I was more than happy to ask them to delete my account. I couldn’t wait to become an ex-customer.
Unhappy customers cost money
Unhappy customers cost you a lot of money. Ask any consultant or coach who picks up a bad client about how stressful they can be. They ask more of you. They are difficult to work with. You need more time and effort to please. You are emotionally stressful.
Businesses also have high costs from unhappy customers. Just like with consultants and coaches, unhappy customers ask for more. You contact customer service more often. You are not satisfied with the solutions you are offering. They escalate problems.
When you have many unhappy customers who need limited time and resources, the financial cost can be high – from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The faster you can reduce the number of unhappy customers, the better it is for your business. (Read on to learn how to do this.)
Related: 5 Strategies To Retain Your Customers Long Term In 2020
Unhappy customers lose money
Have you ever read a bad review for a product or service that you wanted to buy that was so compelling that you decided not to buy? I did it. These reviews are from unhappy customers who are happy to share their crappy experiences with the world. A negative review can deter a potential customer from buying by up to 22%. If prospects find three negative reviews, the potential for business loss increases to 59.2%.
Related: 7 Amazing Ways To Build Long Term Relationships With Your Customers
Unhappy customers show you opportunities
Unhappy customers give you one thing that happy customers don’t – an opportunity to see where your business is problematic. Satisfied customers don’t share what they’re dissatisfied with. But unhappy customers will tell you exactly why they are unhappy.
Customer onboarding is one of the biggest areas that happy customers can quickly become unhappy. Too often companies skip important steps in bringing in a new customer. Or the onboarding process is so complex and difficult that customers abandon the process. Either way, customers get frustrated and unhappy.
3 ways to keep happy customers from getting unhappy
- Better onboarding
Create a more helpful onboarding process. Let customers know what to expect during the onboarding process, including any bumps they may experience during the onboarding process. In your communications with new customers, include links to videos and articles from your knowledge base that they can easily access when they encounter these issues. This saves your customers time looking for answers themselves. This also reduces the likelihood that they will contact customer service to resolve the issue.
- Better alignment
Interview and interview newly hired customers to find out what they found easy or difficult about the onboarding process. Ask questions about their expectations and actual experience. Was the onboarding process what you expected? What did you find most difficult? What would you change? What was missing that would have made her experience better? What did you find confusing? Gather and analyze your customers’ responses. Then look at your onboarding process to make changes based on what you find.
Related: 3 Strategies for Improving Your Customer Service
- Better customer support
Interview and interview customers who are calling for customer support for the first time. Ask them about their first experiences with customer support. What did you like? What did they not like? What do you like about the way other companies provide customer support? Gather and analyze your customers’ responses. Make changes to your customer support processes based on what your customers shared about their customer support experiences.
Dealing with unhappy customers can be difficult, especially if your business is small. But you can learn so much about why your customers are getting unhappy and what you can do to improve the customer experience so more of your customers want to stay.
The key is to speak to your customers at critical points in their customer journey where they are most likely to become unhappy – during onboarding and customer support interactions. Surveys and face-to-face interviews will provide you with valuable information that will show you the specific areas where you can improve the customer experience and reduce the risk of your customers becoming unhappy.
If you focus on improving critical parts of the customer journey where customers are most likely to become unhappy and making changes based on what your customers say, you will quickly see the impact with increased revenue, higher loyalty, and more positive word of mouth on social Media and increased recommendations.