Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, "if you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the internet, they can each tell 6,000." Social media's emergence over the last decade has fostered a degree of interconnection that had previously only existed on Usenet boards and in IRC chatrooms.
It's likely that if a customer is facing a specific issue, others are as well. It's an unfortunate reality that people have become so accustomed to poor customer service that they have taken to loudly complaining in the hopes that they will rise about the clamour and be heard - there's a reason that the squeaky wheel gets the grease is a common idiom. It's unrealistic to expect that any business won't have problems or issues that arise, but empathetically understanding where a customer with an issue is coming from can go a long way.
Transparency with customers
Transparency and vulnerability are concepts that certainly don't appear in the traditional business mould, but creating personal connections with your customers reminds them that you are only human, and thus they may be more forgiving in times where something goes wrong. When startup Nootrobox ran out of product well before they managed to fulfill all of their orders, the founders personally reached out to waiting customer - about 1,000 of them - to apologize and explain that they couldn't compromise their product's quality to ship faster. The result? They managed to retain all but a few of their customers, and the campaign generated greater interest in the product.
By openly communicating that the wait was to the benefit of their customers, Nootrobox demonstrated the positive power of transparency and turned what initially seemed like bad news into excitement. Being upfront with customers about challenges the business may be facing is a surefire way to humanize your brand and build a stronger relationship, and even if customers don't want to hear the news that you have to share, they will respect you for being open enough to share it.
Open customer communication
One of the best ways to combat customer concern is to have a representative that they can talk to. Due to the growth of the internet, each individual customer is now more important than ever before, so all businesses should strive to deliver the best possible service to each and every customer. The problems that are being brought forward are of the utmost importance simply because they are the problems of your customers, and while you work on resolving them, open communication is the most important thing that you can offer them.
No company is more important than its customers, and while there are things that can't be shared with them (how they get the caramel inside the chocolate, for example), all businesses should strive to be as engaging and honest as possible. Explaining to customers why decisions were made allows you to open up a dialogue which has the potential to improve your business more than you could ever imagine.
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