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18 July 2012

Unhappy Customers Never Go Away

A few years ago when a customer had a bad experience they told their friends and the story typically ended there. The cost to the business was the loss of one customer and a few of his or her friends. For businesses with a large number of customers, the loss of a few customers was just part of the cost of doing business. But the Internet is forcing every business, both large and small, to completely rethink their procedures for handling a dissatisfied customer.

On the Internet an unhappy customer can:

  • Post a bad review on Yelp, a frequent source for business reviews for many potential customers
  • Post a negative comment on Facebook telling all of their friends and family
  • Post a negative comment on Twitter linking your company name to the bad experience
  • Post a bad review on Google Places, a frequent search result for people searching online for your business

On the Internet, one bad experience now potentially affects business with hundreds and potentially thousands of customers. So what does a business do when they are faced with an unhappy customer? The simple answer is to try to make it right either through a sincere apology, a discount or a refund. The costs of a liberal resolution policy will be far less than the cost of Internet damage control.

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Jeff is the President and CEO of BubbleLife Media, the publisher of, DFW's largest neighborhood news source, and a leading provider of neighborhood marketing solutions. Jeff has always been a technology entrepreneur including founding and leading one company that ranked 26th on Inc. Magazine’s list of Fastest Growing Private Companies, held an IPO and sold to McAfee.