Handling Dissatisfied Customers Successfully, To Win Them Back

handling dissatisfied customers

No matter how great your products and services are, you’re going to lose customers at some point. But the question is: How do you get them to come back?

Of course, you can’t make every dissatisfied customer give your business another chance. But to entirely disregard anyone who leaves your business would be a mistake too.

Research from Thuderhead, a customer engagement solutions provider, suggests that timing is paramount when communicating with a displeased customer. In fact, 93% of customers in Thunderhead’s study indicated that they wouldn’t change their opinion about a company if it didn’t act quickly to remedy a bad experience.

Danny Rippon, chief solutions officer at Thunderhead, shared some insights with Business News Daily:

“The key thing you need to do to win back customers is to put the value back into the relationship. Sometimes things can go wrong even with your best intentions. As long as you ensure that all communication is timely, relevant and personalized to the individual who had the negative experience, you should still be able to recover the situation.”

But of course, you should still try to avoid having dissatisfied customers in the first place. To do so, you need to try to avoid any kind of negative experiences, because you don’t get too many chances to make a positive impression.

Thunderhead’s research suggests that one in five customers will stop trusting a company after just one bad experience. A quarter of them will switch brands completely.

Thanks to technology, it’s not just a single customer you have to worry about losing each time there’s a bad experience. One third of customers are likely to share a bad experience on social media or another type of public forum, according to Thunderhead.

It’s true that some bad experiences are unavoidable. People make mistakes, and sometimes customer expectations are just not realistic. But by first being very clear about the product or service you provide and second focusing on customer service, you can keep these to a minimum.

Then, if and when they do happen, act quickly. Contact customers right away to rectify the situation. You’ll be less likely to lose their business long term. And you may avoid having them share their bad experiences with their social media connections, thus making a bad situation worse.

Customer Photo via Shutterstock


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

6 Reactions
  1. Well posted article on ways to handle dissatisfied customers, but easy going procedure & timely helps offered are good tactics to make the customers feel pleased with existing company. Also customer service team should be quick & smart enough to provide proper replies.

  2. Thank you for the nice article. So many of us are taught that customers who have a bad experience will tell 10 people. That has changed so dramatically with social media. Thank you for providing some numbers relative to today’s instant society.

    I would like to add that as much as we want to explain why something happened (process failure, lean staff, etc.), customers really don’t want to hear that. Their main concern is not who is at fault rather but how we intend to remedy the situation. I feel that we gain respect from our customers by owning up to the situation and providing a solution in a timely manner.

    • I definitely think that’s true. No one is interested in excuses. But coming up with a proper solution is definitely important.