Negative customer feedback travels further

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There’s an old saying in customer service circles: “If you’re happy with our services – tell a friend. If you’re not happy – tell us!”

This phrase neatly captures the fine line customer-focused businesses must tread when it comes to customer feedback – especially in today’s world of always-on social media. If feedback is good, you want your customers to tell the world. If it’s negative, you’d probably like a chance to fix things first.

The problem is, in the real world, that’s not how it works. A recent survey found that respondents were 50% more likely to share a bad customer service experience with online friends (social media) than they were to share a good customer service experience. Similarly, they were nearly 50% more likely to tell a co-worker about that experience if it was bad, than if it was good.

The survey, conducted by Dimensional Research and sponsored by Zendesk, also found that customers were more likely to tell family and friends in person about a bad customer service experience than a good one – although here the difference was smaller (81% vs. 72%).

Happily, respondents are also more likely to tell the company involved if they’ve experienced bad customer service than good service, but they are less likely to tell the company than they are to share their experience with family and friends, co-workers and online friends.

Online review sites are another target, with 35% of customers posting reviews about bad experiences against 23% posting good ones.

Unfortunately, good customer service experiences only beat negative feedback in one category in the survey: the proportion of respondents who do not tell anyone about their experiences.

So, with so much sharing of negative feedback going on, you might ask yourself a simple question: “Am I doing enough to ensure every customer has a positive and memorable experience?”

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