Customer Service Glossary
Table of Contents

    What Are Detractors?

    Detractors are customers who are dissatisfied with a business’s products or services. More than likely, detractors have purchased from the company in the past and may have been loyal customers. However, following one or more negative experiences, detractors abandon the brand and share their poor perceptions with friends, family, and colleagues. 

    Detractors are unlikely to purchase from the business again. In addition, the impact of their negative experience may extend beyond the detractor to other potential customers through negative word-of-mouth marketing, resulting in lost sales, lower profits, and an increased risk of churn. 

    Fortunately, brands can learn to recognize detractors and manage conflict through exemplary interactions, customer-centric policies, and well-planned complaint resolution processes. 

    Why Is It Important for Businesses to Identify Detractors?

    Most companies understand they can’t please every customer, so it may be tempting to ignore a detractor or two online or in-person. In reality, even a single detractor can impact sales, profits, churn, and overall brand perception. 

    With this in mind, companies should prioritize identifying, managing, and converting detractors for the following reasons. 

    1. Detractors Lead to Fewer Sales

    Studies show that more than 90% of customers will not purchase from a brand again after a negative interaction. The negative word-of-mouth marketing can prevent more than 70% of shoppers from purchasing from a company as well.

    2. Detractors Benefit Competitors

    Consumers purchase goods and services to fulfill a need. After a bad encounter with a company, the need doesn’t disappear. Instead, customers will transition to another brand – namely, your competition. In fact, nearly 90% of shoppers switched to a competing brand following a poor interaction. 

    3. Detractors Harm Brand Reputation

    Finally, detractors can damage your brand by sharing their negative customer experience. 13% of detractors will tell at least 20 current or potential customers about a poor experience, while promotors will only tell three shoppers about a positive interaction. Additionally, your brand will need at least 40 positive stories from promoters to undo the damage caused by one detractor. 

    How Customer Service Departments Can Identify Detractors Using CSAT and NPS Surveys

    Businesses can equip and train customer service departments to identify detractors using Customer Satisfaction Surveys (CSAT) or the Net Promoter Score® (NPS) framework. 

    Customer Satisfaction Surveys allow customers to provide feedback while rating their experience with a brand’s products, services, or staff on a percentage scale ranging from extremely happy to extremely unhappy. Simply put, CSAT enables your business to learn which aspects of your customer experience work and which elements need improvement. 

    The NPS system helps businesses determine their brand perception and loyalty. The survey includes a single-question quiz that asks customers how likely they are to recommend a product or service to friends and colleagues.

    While the two scales are relatively similar, the performance indicators differ in one significant way: CSAT measures short-term customer loyalty and sentiment. The NPS scale registers long-term loyalty and brand shareability.

    The NPS quiz also enables organizations to measure their Net Promoter Score. The NPS platform compares the number of detractors (unhappy customers) to promoters (satisfied customers), then provides a score between 1 and 100.

    What Do NPS Scores Mean?

    Higher NPS scores typically indicate happier, more engaged shoppers. Alternatively, lower scores may suggest that your organization should take advantage of opportunities to engage more positively with your customer base.

    What Are Promoters?

    Unlike detractors, promoters are satisfied, engaged customers who have had consistently positive interactions with a brand. They likely have a long-term relationship with the organization and share their positive experiences with friends, family, and colleagues. That said, even a single negative interaction can turn a promoter into a potential detractor.

    What Are Potential Detractors?

    Potential detractors are companies who have had a negative experience but have not yet become active detractors. You can work to repair the relationship through personalized care, rapid assistance, and using feedback gathered from CSAT and NPS quizzes to enhance your customer experience.

    How to Convert Detractors Into Promoters

    Customer support teams play a crucial role in improving and maintaining the customer experience. Further, agents can address concerns and work to convert detractors into promoters by: 

    1. Creating Convenient Touchpoints for Feedback

    Accessible communication channels allow customers to reach out to request assistance, share their opinions, or express discontent. As such, agents can address concerns and mitigate negative experiences before they escalate. 

    2. Responding Quickly and Compassionately

    Slow response times can anger detractors even more. To show detractors that your organization cares about them, their experience, and their overall happiness, ensure that customer support agents resolve issues quickly and empathetically. 

     3. Learning from Detractors

    Finally, listen to your detractors and use their feedback as an opportunity to learn where you can improve your support team, the purchasing experience, or your products and services. 

    Managing Detractors in Customer Support Departments

    Just as positive word-of-mouth marketing can improve sales, detractors can lower profits, increase churn rates, and influence conversions. To manage dissatisfied customers, support departments can incorporate convenient feedback channels, ensure rapid responses, and implement customer feedback into their daily processes for boosted engagement and better NPS results.

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