Upset loyal customers shout the loudest

Upsetting and losing a loyal customer is going to cause much more damage to your brand than you might think.

A one-time customer who gets bad service will eventually chalk it up to a bad experience, just like the 100s of others they had. You still might get hit with a negative review, chargeback, or the like.

Upsetting a customer who has been loyal to your store for years though... that has the potential for a lot more far-ranging damage. These cases are the ones where you'll get negative word-of-mouth, reviews on 3rd party sites, or even reported to government or industry agencies. Even if you're in the right, you'll suffer in headaches and time wasted.

The reason this happens is your loyal customer felt betrayed. They might have considered you one of the good guys or even a friend. Then something bad happened in their eyes. They want to go back to liking you but until this problem is fixed, they can't.

I'll say that again:

Upset loyal customers want the problem to be fixed so they can get back to liking you.

Oftentimes there is a dose of regret too. The "I would have never bought from you if I knew this" and feelings of a bait-and-switch come out.

The positive side of this is that loyal customers will often give you multiple chances to make things right. Most of the time they are complaining and warning you about the problem before they take it into their own hands.

Your job is to be listening for those complaints and doing what you can to fix what you can. You only have a short time before the pain a customer is experiencing starts to solidify. If you want to smooth things over, you have to act quickly.

Some cases you'll never be able to solve to the degree the customer wants. They might be unreasonable or they might want the past while you've moved on. Even then it matters to show empathy and give the customer a forum to feel heard. Sometimes that's all the customer needed.

If you don't even try to help the customer or ignore them, you're giving the upset customer even more reasons to be upset. This time though, they are justified.

Eric Davis

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Topics: Customer loyalty

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