It was my mum’s birthday last weekend and we decided to head to a nearby cozy local restaurant for a simple celebration dinner. It wasn’t our first time there so we ordered our usuals and all was well… until my dad started swinging his leg about. He stood up and lo and behold, a cockroach fell out of his trousers. Yes, it crawled into his trousers when we were eating. Disgusted, we decided to get the bill and leave.
Being concerned customers, we told the waiter (or what seemed like the boss) what happened and to my disbelief, she just shook her head saying:
“Sorry, it’s too bad. I just got in so I didn’t see what happened.”
Followed with the bill, with a 10% service tax and the usual 6% government tax.
What was she thinking!?
Now, we weren’t expecting a discount or a free meal but it would be nice if we got a (nicer) apology rather than a (very) poor excuse. While you’re nodding your head in agreement (I’m guessing you are), it’s amazing to see similar occurrences happening even on digital platforms. From the recent Paul Christoforo to Versace’s Facebook wall-closing incident, we can learn two things:
1. Treat your customers like customers. Sure, some customers can be a pain and customers are not always right but they’re still your customers. Did you know that for every 1 complaint received, there are 26 others that did not complain, making up to 10,000 dissatisfaction?
2. Avoiding the situation won’t make things better. In fact, it’ll get worse. In the case of Christoforo, let’s just say that his career is over. As for Versace, well, they got a whole lot of blasting themselves from fans and supporters.
With all that said, it is important for businesses today to remember that…
Customers today are social customers
They no longer are customers who purchase blindly and allows you to get away with things easily. The proof?
Malaysians actually rely pretty heavily on social networks to receive advice prior to making a purchase. On top of that, 78% of the Malaysian internet population are on Facebook and 31% of them has a blog on Blogger (source: Nielson Research). This also means that if they don’t like you, there’s a 78% chance you’ll end up on their Facebook wall or in a blog post somewhere in the digital world.
What happens in the digital world? It gets worse
Not only the complaints are visible to potential customers, they are permanent. And since these content are user generated, you have no way of removing them. A well optimized complaint on a blog will probably guarantee frontage results across search engines. Same goes to negative reviews on FourSquare, Amazon, eBay or TripAdvisor and shared across Facebook and Twitter.
Think about it – would you really want that for your business? What if you’re able to turn that around to a positive testimonial instead? Wouldn’t that be good? I’m sure it is.
With an experience like that, will we go back there again? We won’t. Will you?