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How To Turn Disgruntled Online Customers Into Brand Advocates?

When you are into customer service you are bound to receive a mix of incoming messages. The messages will range from high to low in the emotional spectrum. Some customers may be deep in love with your product, but there will be other complaining customers. At times, you may find both the emotional extremes in one communication. Customer care professionals get thousands of calls every day, ranging from the product queries to problems about certain product. All these communications should be tackled with care. The disgruntled customers would yell and scream and let their anger be felt. But a well-trained agent can tackle the situation and turn this customer into a brand advocate. Okay, now you want to know how. Read on, and you will understand how to turn customers venting their anger online into brand evangelists.

  • Admit and Fix: You have to be very clear in your mind, when there is a product there might be certain problems. No product is without any issues in it. So, why not acknowledge the problem? If you acknowledge the problem (however small it is), customer would feel secured. You should go on and explain that such small problems happen with every product. There are another group of customers, who understand that issues may exist in any product and want to let the problem be known. Get back to the customer and apologize for the problems they are facing. But do not stop at that. You should actually do something about it. Get the problem across to product development section and get it fixed. Once the problem is fixed you should get back to the customer and let him/her know. Fixing the problem will no doubt impress the disgruntled customer. As you can see when the customer is handled politely and issue is solved you can actually turn a negative customer experience into a positive one.
  • Inform the Customers: Every product has an online community, with a lot of followers. If the problem is quite a serious one, you can ask for the customers to voice their opinion about the fix. Let them feel a part of the brand. You never know you might come across various useful insights.
  • Extra Efforts: Often a disgruntled customer may not actually communicate the problem with you. He/she may just mention the company in a post and not post the complaint on your page. To keep the customer happy you have to walk the extra mile and somehow get in touch with him/her (through mail, chat or any other medium). Software available in the market would help you track such customers.
  • Wit: As mentioned before an angry customer can be turned around with polite communication. Once you have got a measure of the situation may be some witty words or even jokes may turn the customer experience positive. But tackling is very important.
  • Gratitude: When someone praises or refers your products online it is a big boost for your brand. The person is doing you a huge favor. So, showing some gratitude is well in place. Join in on the same conversation and show your expertise in further pleasing the customer. This helps in retaining customer satisfaction.
  • Participate: There are many instances when customers are opining (negatively) about your products, but they are not directly talking to you. You have to join in such conversations. Apart from relevant problems, customers are often disgruntled due to misunderstandings. You do not want these misunderstandings to skew away. When you join in, try to be a part of the conversation. Do not be too pushy, just clarify the doubt and give customers certain alternatives. There are many online tools which can track the online conversations done about your brand. Use one of these to enhance your customer retention rates.
  • Courteousness: No matter how wrong a customer is, you have to show courteousness. Let the barrage flow and once it stops you can politely clarify the situation. Tell the customer about his/her misunderstanding and then suggest a solution. Make sure that the customer has understood the entire scenario.
  • Humane Side: When a customer communicates with the brand, he/she expects a human on the other end to respond. What does a human possess? Empathy. Show some empathy towards the customers in all your communications. Be polite and have fun too. It is your cheat code to building long term relationships with customers.

As you can see it needs a bit of calm and perseverance to win over a disgruntled customer. Everyone wants their issues to be solved and voices to be heard. When you give them that scope and reply back in empathetic manner, you give them enough reasons to cool down and even become brand loyalists. Whether it is a retail call center, medical one or any other segment this is the easiest formula to win back disgruntled customers.

Are you ready to change the way customers write about your brand online?

Written By

Alicia Gray is an BPO and outsourcing industry analyst, and writes about technology. Currently working with one of the business process outsourcing (BPO) services provider. My role has been instrumental in assisting businesses to choose the right BPO Services. Since she has dealt with a plethora of customers during her professional life, she best understands customer relationship management, billing and oss software etc. She writes regularly on a variety of topics associated with customer service.

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