Customer Experience News & Trends

Think your small company’s immune to online ridicule? No way

Because of their size, small companies believe they’re immune to the perils of online ridicule. But research proves they have reason to fear it.

Customers are just as willing (if not a little more) to blab about their experiences with small and mid-size companies as they are about those that get most of the media attention, such as airlines, utility companies, retailers, and hotel and restaurant chains.

And when something goes wrong, customers are more likely to take to the streets with the news than when they have a great experience, according to a recent Dimensional Research and Zendesk survey.

After a bad experience with a smaller companies, customers admitted they shared details with:

  • Friends and family in person (81%)
  • Co-workers in person (57%)
  • Online friends (45%)
  • The company that provided the service (43%)
  • Online review sites (35%)
  • No one (5%)

Generally, the numbers were between 10-20 percentage points lower than when it came to sharing good experiences.

Most disturbing trend

Perhaps the most disturbing part of this research is that customers share their bad experiences with other people — in person and in social media — more than they do with the offending companies. Often, those companies don’t have the means to track down customers who might have walked away without saying a word of complaint.

That’s why it’s important for smaller companies to encourage customers to point out problems they have.

Try these avenues:

  • Post a “complaint hotline” number on all correspondence with customers. When calls come into that line, you’ll know to be prepared for frustration and a quick rebound.
  • Invite customers to share their concerns in some kind of online forum. If you can’t keep it staffed all day or during business hours, post times that customer service or sales pros are available to take feedback and answer questions.

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