Negative Customer Experience

Companies have more marketing tools than ever before to connect and engage with their customers. Digital marketing allows companies to create user experiences specifically designed to attract their target audience, develop meaningful customer relationships, and create brand ambassadors. Positive user experience leads to new customer. Happy customer leads to free word of mouth advertising or referrals. Seems so simple yet there are countless marketing plans that are poorly conceived, poorly executed or both.

Here’s a look at 8 ways marketing can negatively impact customer experience:

1.  Luring Prospects in with the Misleading Hook

The misleading hook frustrates your users and is something marketers should never use. Similar to bait-and-switch tactics, the false hook promises something but either fails to deliver or has a hidden cost that was unexpected. For example, a national organization advertises repeatedly on LinkedIn that you can join and be recognized as a business leader. Curious, you click on their link and submit your information. Nothing much happens and you forget about it. A few weeks later you receive a phone call and are interviewed to see if you “qualify.” Then, after the 10-15 minute “interview,” the interviewer launches into an aggressive sales pitch to sell you a membership that costs $989 per year. You broadcast your experience via your social networks to warn others. Quite the opposite of the positive word-of-mouth experience the company should be seeking.

Be honest. If you have something of value to offer, then offer it. But don’t attempt to hide the cost or fail to deliver on your promise. The misleading hook cheapens your brand and damages your reputation.

2.  Poorly Executed Information

Connect with your customers on their terms. Make sure the information you present specifically states how what you offer will impact them. Jayson DeMers emphasizes the point about writing for your customers, not your peers. Know who your true prospects are and what matters to them.

Make information easy to find and understandable. You might attract prospects to your website with a great promotional strategy but will lose them quickly if you make it difficult for them to find the information they want. Effective marketing means managing every single aspect of the customer relationship from the first point of contact to the very last. This includes the instruction manual. Everyone has a story to share about poorly written instruction manuals. There really is no excuse for this. Test it with a variety of people of different ages. Repeatedly. Rewrite it as often as necessary until you get it right. Difficult-to-follow instruction manuals = negative customer review = more negative publicity.

Make every single experience a user has with your product or service the “how to” role model, not the “how not to” role model.

3.   Making Unrealistic Promises

Nobody wants to be disappointed. If you position your product as a high-ticket, well-made item, make sure it really is. Again, test it. For example, if it’s clothing, make sure it looks as nice after the first cleaning as it did when the customer first purchased it. Online reviews can be brutal when a product fails to live up to expectations. Be honest about your product and take the time to really understand who your customers are and how they respond to your product.

4.  Ignoring Negative Reviews or Feedback

Address negative reviews or feedback. Respectfully and after considerable thought and editing. Take a 3-step approach:

1. Thank your customer for their feedback.
2. Show empathy for their negative experience (“we are sorry you had this experience”)
3. Ask how you can improve. If they have already made a suggestion, tell them how and when you will make the improvement. If you truly can’t implement their suggestion, offer them a refund and tell them their satisfaction is important. Be amicable about the loss of business.

It is often about your response, or lack of response, that matters more than the negative feedback itself. Take criticism objectively and respond to it as you would want someone to respond to you. Simple, right?

5.  Failure to Appreciate Your Loyal Customers

Brand advocates drive word of mouth advertising. Don’t believe it? Check out these statistics.
Brand advocates are tremendously valuable, and tremendously overlooked. A savvy marketer identifies their brand advocates and nurtures the relationship. Mark Fidelman describes 7 customer advocate archetypes and how to help them engage with your brand.

Know who your brand advocates are. Show them you appreciate them.

6.  Failure to Give Your Customers a Voice

People like to be heard. They want to know you care. How and when do you engage your customers in the product marketing cycle? Do you research what features customers are looking for before you design the product? Do you keep up with the latest trends to find out if your product/service needs to be updated or changed? Better yet, are you anticipating trends before they become a trend?

You need to give your customers a voice at every stage of product development and marketing. This is particularly true for millennials.

7.  Poor Customer Service

Everyone, but ESPECIALLY marketing managers, should be obsessed with great customer service. Customers become loyal customers and brand advocates when they experience great customer service. So why are so many companies failing miserably when it comes to customer service?

86% of customers quit doing business with a company because of a bad customer experience.   Multiply these customers by the number of friends/associates they share their experience with. Can you afford bad customer service?

8.  Poor follow up

Your first encounter with a prospect or client should never be your last. Give them something to remember you. Send them a thank you email. Contact them with an opportunity to provide feedback tied to an incentive such as a discount. Give them something to take home that includes your website or contact information. For example, if you are a store owner selling a food product to take home, give the customer a sample along with a recipe card that includes your web address.

Customers usually take time to make a decision. Don’t assume that just because they didn’t purchase the first time they won’t come back later.

Great marketing can and should have great impact on your business. Need help developing a marketing strategy that has a positive impact on your business? Contact us.