Opportunities to win customer loyalty are cleverly disguised as problems

Jacqui Mueller | Jul 17, 2018 Jacqui Mueller 07/17/18

Delivering a seamless, problem-free experience from start to finish is typically the end game when it comes to serving customers. Who doesn’t want to wow their customers right out of the gate? But as we all know, sometimes the best intentions can fall short. When that happens, don’t panic and declare defeat. We’ve got some good news for you: if you play your cards right and use technology to your advantage, this could actually be a good thing.

It all lies in your next move. Your customers are counting on you to make it right, and you only have a small window of opportunity to do so. We’ve spent the last 27 years learning from your customers—more than 1 billion of them in fact. And they’ve shared with us some very important insight on problem resolution and what you need to do to win back their trust and loyalty when things go wrong. Here are a few things we’ve found out:

Customers with problems can become very loyal

The sad truth is a lot of companies aren’t great with problem resolution. Our research revealed only 35% of customers were highly satisfied with service recovery when they experienced a problem. But here’s the flip side: customers who did have a problem and were highly satisfied with the resolution of that problem were more likely to return than those who had no problem at all.


Interesting, right? This means if you can be the brand that excels at problem resolution, you can be the one that solidifies more customer loyalty. That’s because customers know if something does go wrong (which as we discussed, can sometimes happen) they can count on you to make it right—or to make lemonade out of lemons, as they say.

Successful problem resolution can result in greater future spending

Along with that increased likelihood to return comes a probability for greater future spending. For example, when a retail client wanted to know the financial impact of problem occurrence, they asked their SMG team to combine loyalty card data with survey results over a period of 6 months.

Our financial linkage analysis showed that customers who experienced a problem and returned regardless spent more than $100 less over the following 6-month period (compared to customers who didn’t experience a problem). But for those who were highly satisfied with how their problem was resolved, they spent more than $100 than those who were merely satisfied with their problem resolution. Meaning: if you are able to make a customer happy after a problematic scenario, they’re more likely to reward you by spending more.

Customer feedback helps improve your close-the-loop process

Businesses who consistently survey their customers have an easier time fixing problems. Brands can use surveys to ask customers if they wish to be contacted about their problem—making it simple for store managers to follow up and handle problems right away. Efficient alerting technology helps turn problems into second chances for building customer loyalty. By closing the loop—and responding to issues promptly—you are able to offer a quick resolution and enhance the customer experience.

Knowing whether you have customer service issues at various locations in a multi-unit business is important. But knowing how you’re dealing with those issues is crucial. Handle problems well, close the loop with customers, and you can turn unhappy customers into brand loyalists.

To read more on the Five things we learned from talking to more than 1 billion people, download our report here.


Jacqui Mueller | VP, Client Insights

Customer Experience Update