Customer Experience News & Trends

How to destroy customer engagement in minutes

Here’s good news: A mistake can be the first step in building customer engagement.

But it must be handled well.

Why is engagement so important? Fully engaged customers are strongly attached to your company or a particular product. They spend more than the average customer, are usually great to deal with and recommend you to others.

Keep it glitch-free

Glitch-free customer experiences build engagement. Half of customers who don’t run into problems when they buy are fully engaged, a recent Gallup poll found.

This is where it gets even better: 54% of customers who’ve had problems that were fixed to their satisfaction end up fully engaged.

But beware: If there’s a problem, and it’s not fixed well, only 15% of customers become engaged, researchers found.

Rebound like a champ

Customer engagement and loyalty start with mistake-free experiences. But, if mistakes happen, most customers are understanding and forgiving. The key to winning back their interest is a smart rebound.

Here are six steps to rebounding after a mistake, according to Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey, authors of The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle and Heart Built a Bestselling Wine:

  1. Admit it. The first step in any recovery is to acknowledge you aren’t perfect; you’ve made a mistake. The sooner you acknowledge it, the better. If you can tell customers before they tell you what’s happened, you’ll gain some credibility.
  2. Recognize how it happened. When you know what caused an error that affected customers, tell them. The more details you give (without going overboard), the more understanding they’ll be. One caveat: Don’t make excuses.
  3. Apologize and move on. Tell customers you’re sorry for what’s happened, and move on to what will be done to resolve it. Repeatedly apologizing suggests you aren’t confident in your capabilities to make it right again.
  4. Aim, don’t blame. Mistakes may be caused by other people, suppliers or entities. But it’s your job to take responsibility for the fix, so avoid pointing fingers anywhere but at yourself.
  5. Make sure it doesn’t happen again. Once you’ve successfully fixed customers’ immediate issues and the dust has settled, find the root cause. Put precautionary steps into place so it doesn’t happen again.
  6. Follow up. Tell customers what you’ve done to prevent the mistake from happening in the future. Give them a reason — perhaps a discount or credit — to come back again.

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