Study: Unhappy Customers Prefer Apologies To Cash

Here’s some interesting research you can put to work in your customer service efforts. According to a recent article on Inc.com what customers want when they have a bad customer experience is…a good, old fashioned apology. Researchers worked with a large eBay seller (10,000+ sales a month) and offered different customers who left negative feedback one of two exclusive options to reconsider their complaint:

1. $4 to $8 to retract

2. An apology

Forty-five percent of participants offered an apology withdrew their complaint while only 23% of participants offered cash withdrew their complaint.

Now, it’s important to keep in mind, it’s not just what you do that matters. It’s also HOW you do it. An automated “robo apology” is not going to cut it. Their suggestions?

  • Reach out and touch someone…use the phone when possible.
  • If you have to use email, sign it from a real person, with a title and real email address they can respond back to.
  • Don’t use a form letter. Make the reply real, short and sincere.

The bottom line is, people expect an automated response and a useless excuse when complaining to a giant company. You stand out from the crowd when you treat your customers like people instead of numbers and costs.

And, remember, each of your customers has a Facebook or Twitter account, a blog, a mobile phone with plenty of social connected apps. Unlike past eras, when customers fumed in silence, today if they don’t like something, they have the power to broadcast their displeasure to the world, which also can show up every time someone searches on your company or brand. Try to put the impact of negative brand equity on your balance sheet.

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About Scott Cone
A husband to a loving, lovely wife. Father to six great kids and two grand kids. I'm a marketing, advertising and promotion professional with a keen interest in big ideas, all things digital and especially how mobile is changing all aspects of communication and marketing. I play guitar and sing, write music, write screenplays, act, scuba dive, weight lift, ski and enjoy Christian apologetics, logic, evolution versus intelligent design and the basis for morals, values and ethics.

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