The Power of Consumers: How Bad Customer Service Can Lead to Drastic Consequences

stressed employee

It is never a good idea to allow customers to leave a store unhappy. Although contrary to the old adage, customers are not always right, it is still a good idea to try to do anything you can to mitigate the situation and arrive at a solution that is satisfactory to both parties. Otherwise, the customer would not come back to make another purchase. Worse, they might warn others about the unpleasant incident.

Expensive Consequence of Bad Customer Service

As people use the internet for a variety of reasons, good customer service is more important now more than ever. One tweet talking about a rude salesperson could go viral and irk users, all of whom could decide on the spot to never purchase from the business ever.

All experts will agree on how important customer service is to the survival and success of a business. With bad customer service, the business is not just losing a few dollars. It definitely makes a dent, especially over time. It is not just one person refusing to transact with the business, but their family and friends also join in the boycott.

To highlight its importance, NewVoiceMedia crunched the numbers and found that bad customer service is costing businesses over $75 billion a year, up from just $13 billion in 2016. The results were published in 2018.

This is why large corporations are spending a huge chunk of their budgets on improving customer service. They train employees to deescalate a tense situation and respond to upset consumers. They use secure survey software to provide after-sales support and ask for feedback to make their service even better.

When Customers Call for Boycott

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It will not stop with one customer, either. In some cases, when really awful things happen because of a business, it triggers mass action that leads to a boycott.

Consumers have been doing boycotts, a form of peaceful protest, for centuries. The term itself was coined in 1880 when a certain Captain Charles Cunningham Boycott raised rents and evicted tenants in Ireland. As a response, the community joined together and rebelled against Captain Boycott. They refused to work or pay until the man was forced to leave. Thus, boycotting was born.

It is very effective. It forces even giants to bow down to consumers and do what is asked of them. For example, in 1977, many people from around the world boycotted the infant formula from Nestle, saying that the company misled the people with false nutritional claims. The boycott did not end until, seven years later, Nestle finally adhered to the standards set by the World Health Organization for marketing infant formula.

Social Media Calls Out Bad Customer Service

Nowadays, social media is increasingly becoming important to businesses. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest are effective tools for marketing. They also open communication between businesses and consumers.

However, it can be used against businesses that have bad customer service.

One study found that it would take dozens of positive reviews to counter the impact of one negative customer write-up online, especially if it goes viral. Because potential clients read these reviews before transacting with a business, it is important to ensure that the business has a positive online reputation.

Consumers are not sitting still after experiencing bad customer service from a business. More than half of them are ready to call out a brand on social media for an unpleasant experience. Although young people dominate online communities, they are not the only ones who want their complaints heard. About 44% of Baby Boomers said that they, too, will voice their dissatisfaction with a business on platforms they are on.

Chick-Fil-A knows this well. After the fast-food company was found out to be funding religious charities that oppose same-sex marriage, the internet called it out. The backlash was so bad that, eventually, the restaurant chain promised to stop giving money to the two organizations.

Responding Quickly to Complaints

The trick to prevent these instances from happening to your company is to make changes that will improve customer service. The best way to do it is to listen to what the public is saying.

Brands take note of complaints online and respond to negative reviews as quickly as possible. Domino’s Pizza, for example, has a social media team that immediately sends a reply to irate customers. It does what it can to resolve the issue and make customers happy. The popular restaurant chain also changed its recipes because of customer complaints.

Keeping customers happy is every business’ goal. No customer is unimportant because everyone has the power to destroy a business with a single bad online review. Learn from the mistakes of other companies and improve customer service.

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