In sales we are taught that the customer is always right. A negative complaint must be handled with care, unless of course you want your company to go the way of those large businesses that now RIP or any of the top brand debacles of the last few years. However, in the age of digital fame, where false news spreads faster than a forest fire and Smokey The Bear is left throwing caution to the wind by turning to social media to handle complaints, we are left to wonder if the customer can in fact be wrong.
When Is The Customer Always Right?
The customer is right when you, or your sales team, have made a tactical error. This error could be falsely advertising, mishandling a previous complaint, posting something inappropriate (read offensive) to social media, or any other similar mistake. However, “to err is human, to forgive is divine.”
Acknowledging that the customer is right is the first step towards repairing the relationship. However, what do you do when the negative response is to marketing materials? How do you handle a customer who is actually a prospect, or even an existing customer who is interested in branching out to new products or services? The answer might seem a bit tongue in cheek, but it is tried and true — you handle the negativity through a careful analysis of the customer’s true response.
Analyze The True Customer Response
A customer’s true response can be found by analyzing their exact response to the marketing materials. Before you formulate a quick reply on social media, pick up the phone, or dare to craft an email, take a moment to answer the following questions.
- What is the customer’s purchase history with your company (or your competitors)?
- How long did the customer spend on each marketing material?
- Did the customer look at the marketing materials more than once?
- Was the response to the materials immediate or delayed?
- What demographics, or specific information, do you know about your customer to better understand the origin of their response?
Once you have answered the above questions, the road towards your response will become clear. In fact, you might discover that the customer’s response is an outlier to the general responses of everyone within that particular audience sector. No matter what you discover, once you have completed this vital analysis, you will be armed with the knowledge that you need to determine if the customer is in fact right, or, if they have in fact misunderstood your messaging and so are not “right” but rather “misinformed.” Either way, the best option for handling negative customer responses to marketing materials is to properly analyze what went wrong, how you can make it better, and what you should change for the future.