How to Turn Detractors Into Promoters of Your Business

You don’t always need to fear detractors. While they’re known to spread any negative experiences and can tarnish your company’s reputation, there’s a way to turn them into enthusiastic promoters.

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How you deal with detractors can make or break your business.

Handle them poorly, and you’ll likely see your brand reputation and sales take a nosedive. Treat them right, and you just might turn them into avid fans eager to promote your products to their social circle.

Although detractors are inevitable in every business, with the right strategies, you can change them into allies and even foster customer loyalty. That’s what you’ll learn in this guide.


Overview: What are detractors?

Detractors are customers who are unsatisfied and unhappy with your products and services. Due to their bad experience with your brand, they are unlikely to do business with you again and might even discourage other people from doing so.

You can identify detractors using the Net Promoter Score (NPS), a standard customer experience metric that lets you measure your customers’ willingness to recommend your business to family and friends.

Customers are classified into three categories based on their responses: Promoter, Passive, or Detractor.

  • Promoter: These are customers scoring nine or 10 on the NPS. Promoters are generally loyal to your brand and are likely to recommend your business to other people.
  • Passive: These customers score seven or eight on the NPS and are satisfied with your business but not happy enough to be considered promoters.
  • Detractor: Detractors are defined as customers scoring zero to six due to a negative experience (or experiences) with your brand. NPS detractors have the potential to tarnish your brand’s reputation, making it crucial to identify them and take appropriate action to resolve their issues and minimize damage to your business.

3 ways to turn detractors into promoters

Every company has detractors. However, if your team is equipped with the best practices for dealing with angry customers, the probability of turning your detractors into brand ambassadors significantly increases.

Below are tried-and-tested tips you can follow to win them over.

1. Follow up with detractors

Show your detractors you care about them by following up on their feedback. Sometimes this is all it takes to prompt a change of heart from your previously angry customers. Reach out to them, acknowledge their negative experience, and address your customers’ needs to the best of your capability.

Below are useful tips when following up with your detractors.

  • Be sure you start the conversation with the reason you’re reaching out and apologize for the bad experience the customer had with your brand.
  • Address customer concerns without being defensive, and don’t make any false promises. You don’t want to add to their negative experience by promising them something you can’t deliver.
  • Make sure the person doing the follow-up knows the ins and outs of your products or services and has the authority to make instant decisions. This lets them resolve issues more quickly, giving an upset customer a better experience.

Whether you’re creating automated response workflows or following up with detractors on the phone, make sure you address their concerns and assure them you’re there to help them resolve their issues.

2. Provide quick responses

According to a 2018 HubSpot survey, 90% of customers rate instant responses as a critical aspect of customer service. This highlights why you need to put a premium on quick response times when dealing with customers, especially your detractors.

If you don’t respond to their issues immediately, things can escalate very quickly. In less than five minutes, they can post about their frustrations with your brand on their social media accounts, which could then go viral. Things will continue to spiral from there.

Prevent such a catastrophe by providing quick response times. While some issues can be complex and take more time to resolve, the least you can do is update customers that you’re working relentlessly on fixing their problems. It’s a great way to demonstrate your company’s genuine concern about consumer satisfaction.

Consider these tips to improve your customer service response times.

  • Prioritize queries. Categorize customer queries based on the complexity of the issue, time sensitivity, minimum time to resolve, and previous follow-ups to streamline resolving customer concerns. For instance, customer service software, such as HappyFox, lets you create custom priorities and statuses to help your agents identify urgent tickets faster and expedite resolution.
  • Personalize automated replies. Send personalized emails to people who didn’t specify their reason for giving you a low score. Set up a rule to trigger email replies that include your contact’s name and an acknowledgment of the feelings and issues of those who gave you an NPS rating of zero to six points. This adds a personal touch to your message and shows that your company is willing to help customers.
A sample customer query with the priority tag.

Prioritize queries to speed up resolution and improve your detractors’ experience with your brand. Source: HappyFox software.

3. Incorporate NPS scores into your CRM system

Integrate NPS scores into your customer relationship management (CRM) system so your agents are made aware of current or previous customer issues before going into a call or live chat. This allows your customer service reps to take appropriate actions promptly to de-escalate your customers’ frustrations.

For example, if customers scoring three on the NPS call an airline to complain about a recent flight, offering them a free upgrade on their next flight can help prevent them from switching to a different carrier. It’s one way of improving their brand experience and increasing their satisfaction, thereby increasing the chances of turning them into promoters.


3 best practices when dealing with detractors

While there are many ways to handle detractors, we’ve rounded up three of the best methods to deal with them effectively.

1. Encourage giving feedback

Ask for feedback from your detractors and then act on their issues to show your company cares. Respond to negative reviews by asking your detractors about their issues. This helps you understand their situation better and allows you to develop the best possible solution to their frustrations.

Use Zendesk customer feedback software and customize the tool’s templates to create feedback forms easily.

A sample feedback form template from Zendesk.

Ask for feedback from your detractors to understand their issues and provide proper solutions, thereby improving their experience with your brand. Source: Zendesk software.

2. Go above and beyond

A successful detractor interaction doesn’t end with resolving the issues at hand. There’s a difference between your detractors feeling OK because their issues are addressed and feeling enthusiastic because of the interaction they had with your brand.

Your goal is the latter.

When you go above and beyond when solving your detractors’ concerns, you make them feel special and valued. This makes them want to give your brand another chance and even spread the word about their positive experience with your business.

Here are a few tips to help you go above and beyond and turn your detractors into promoters.

  • Offer discount codes or special offers to detractors to help increase their satisfaction with your brand.
  • Send personalized thank-you emails or letters to your customers from one of your company’s managers or the CEO to show appreciation for doing business with you.

Additionally, assess each detractor’s situation and determine if it’s part of a larger recurring issue. If you see a trend with a specific type of problem, it might be time to rethink and refine certain products, processes, and other aspects of your business.

3. Know the heart of the issue

Ensure your customer service agents know the history of your customers’ issues. That way, they can avoid adding fuel to the fire by asking already angry customers to repeat their frustrations. Having all this information ready helps your agents determine the best approach to dealing with detractors.

While it can be challenging to handle angry customers, staying professional, showing empathy, and focusing on finding solutions can help turn your detractors into promoters.


Turn your detractors into your biggest allies

There are countless detraction examples you can study to turn your angry customers into promoters. However, if you follow the tips shared in this guide, you’re bound to get quick and long-term wins out of your initiatives to win over your detractors.

Leverage the right strategies to provide excellent customer support to both promoters and detractors. As long as you treat them right, your customer retention rate and your brand reputation will improve, along with your company’s bottom line.

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