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Customer Recovery : How To Recover A Negative Experience

Luc Hallion | March 14, 2022

Think back to the last time you had a less than satisfactory experience with a business.

Did you repurchase? Did you recommend them to friends and family? It’s likely you didn’t.

Since the dawn of time negative experiences have had a profound effect on businesses, proving to shape future interactions, tarnish reputations, and ultimately impact bottom lines.

And while it’s impossible to get rid of negative experiences in their entirety, there are opportunities to use them to your advantage and develop stronger customer relationships.

This is done by using “customer recovery.”

Customer recovery is a proactive way to address negative sentiment and motivate action. It involves understanding the customer’s needs and working with them to maintain loyalty.

In this blog, we’ll explore how you can practice customer recovery in your business and turn negative experiences into positive ones.

How To Recover A Negative Customer Experience

Ask For Feedback

Customer recovery begins with an understanding of the customer and how to meet their needs. Yet, in most instances, customers with a less than satisfactory experience, won’t tell you they’re unhappy. In fact, only 1 in 26 unhappy customers actually complain. The rest just leave. This makes it difficult to understand customer sentiment and improve operations.

Asking for feedback using a survey, is a great way to initiate the recovery process. Rather than waiting for a customer to express their feelings (if they even do), take a proactive stance and encourage a direct line of communication.

Listen and Empathize

The key to driving a good experience is listening to what the customer has to say, empathizing with their sentiments and validating their feelings. As a business, it’s crucial to be accountable and understand the experience from the customer’s eyes. In most instances, all a customer wants is to be heard.

Make it a point to ask for feedback but then really take the time to read and respond in a thoughtful and personal way. You’d be surprised at the positive impact you can have, simply by listening.

Offer Multiple Channels

One of the major barriers in receiving customer feedback is not being available on the customer’s channel of choice.

In order to collect feedback to recover the experience, you need to make connecting simple. Test trending channels like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, and combine them with channels your current customers regularly use like email or text. Just ensure the experience is consistent across all channels. For example, if you’re responding in 10 minutes on Facebook, you should be doing the same via text message.

Close The Loop

Closing the loop should be done with each customer that provides feedback or comments on service. It can be as simple as thanking them for their feedback or informing them of the steps you’ll take to ensure satisfaction. When communicating with the customer, take the time to outline the process of resolving the issue.

An example could look like; Thanking them for their feedback, outlining how your staff will rectify the issue immediately, and then finally rewarding them with a discount or free product/service to encourage loyalty.

Analyze Trends

Lastly, for long-term success and to deter negative experiences in the future, always revisit data. Take a look at how long it takes to close a conversation, what teams are involved, common topics by location, and the number of unhappy customers in a given time frame.

Using this insight you can understand where the negative sentiment comes from and how to resolve it for future customers.

Why Does Real-Time Matters In Customer Recovery

While having a good strategy in place to deal with negative experiences is key, considering real-time capabilities is crucial. Let’s explore why.

Opportunity to Immediately Change Sentiment

Recovery is a time-sensitive matter. Leave a customer hanging with a negative experience for an extended period of time and watch their anger multiply.

When handling customer feedback it’s imperative to opt for a real-time solution and set a standard of a 10-15 minute time to respond. Your staff should always be alert and acknowledge messages the minute they come in.

Deter Negative Word-of-Mouth Marketing

As previously mentioned, customers who leave with a negative experience are more likely to share their sentiment online or with friends, family, and colleagues. And although you have a recovery process in place, not reaching out in real-time can still leave a customer with the opportunity to express their negative sentiment to others.

By addressing their comment immediately, you can interject before the customer has time to complain to others.

Employee Benefit

Addressing comments in real-time also has tremendous benefits for the employees servicing the customer. Let’s say they write in upset about the service received. Not addressing that concern in real-time, context can be construed. If you bring up the negative sentiment to an employee at a later time for resolution, they might have forgotten the experience as a whole, dwindling your chances of successful customer recovery.

Using real-time capabilities, the experience is always top of mind and employees can modify their service for success.

How The Loop Platform Helps Businesses Recover Experiences

Following the importance of real-time customer recovery, comes the need to adopt a customer experience solution. Over the years, businesses like Cheval Collection, FreshSlice and Sodexo have leveraged the Loop Experience Platform to recover experiences in real-time.

Providing in-the-moment surveys, insight into customer sentiment, and a consolidated inbox to respond while the experience is fresh, Loop is a solution that encourages loyalty and drives success.

Let’s take a look at Loop’s in-the-moment surveys for example. With The Loop Experience Platform, you can prompt customers to fill out a survey at key moments of truth. If you’re a hotel, this can be a banner at reception, if you’re a restaurant this can be a tent card on the table, or if you’re an airport, this can be a kiosk throughout various terminals.

Once a customer fills out the survey, the platform immediately sends it to a consolidated inbox, where employees can see responses in real-time. To help in understanding the customer, the platform also offers sophisticated analytics like; natural language processing so you can always see customer sentiment or trending topics that show an overview of important themes in service.

Negative experiences are inevitable. As a business operating for hundreds to thousands of guests, it’s impossible to meet everyone’s expectations. The goal is to authentically recover negative sentiment and show your guests their value.

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