Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3,000: Running a Business in Today’s Consumer-Driven World. That’s the title of a book I just came across in writing this article.

It was written back in 2008 by Pete Blackshaw and while the author may have exaggerated slightly re: how many people angry customers tell their stories to – a recent survey reminds brands that people still want to share a negative or bad experience.

The survey, which was conducted by Dimensional Research and commissioned by cloud-based customer service software platform Zendesk, revealed that a whopping 95% of consumers have indicated they have shared a negative customer service experience with others.

On the flip side, a nearly equally impressive 87% reported they’ve shared positive or good brand customer service experiences with others.

So people are sharing experiences – be they good or bad. In fact 58% more consumers say they shared experiences compared to five years ago.

As to where all these consumers are sharing all these experiences it should come as no surprise that a great number of them are doing so via social media with 45% and 30% saying they share bad and good experiences via social media, respectively.

Turn A Negative Into A Positive

With all this negativity out there it may come as a surprise that brands can actually benefit from a negative review.

In an article I wrote back in 2010 I shared some thoughts as to Why a Negative Review Can Be a Positive Experience:

  • They show others, be it existing customers or prospects, that you are the proverbial open book; you want to hear from EVERYONE; the good, the bad and yes, the ugly
  • A Social Media platform(s) then allows you to respond to those negative comments in public; it allows EVERYONE to see how you addressed a problem professionally, promptly and correctly (assuming you actually do all of these)
  • This in turn demonstrates your willingness to admit fault (you are human after all) which will help establish an emotional connection

Notice the word I called out in the second bullet, promptly?

According to the survey results the most important strategy a brand can implement to offset and resolve a negative experience is speed. Nearly 70% of respondents said a quick resolution of their problem was the most important to them even more important that actual outcome itself.

In other words brands need to act quickly and decisively in dealing with a negative experience. The customer may not always like or agree with the decision but… they want it and they want it fast.