Every savvy business owner knows that one happy customer can go a long way… but so can one unhappy customer. So the question is, how do we turn those customers around? 

The New Year is all about new beginnings though, and maybe you and an unhappy customer can start over and begin the new year off on the right foot. We can all think of that one customer who is particularly unhappy and also particularly vocal about it. With a little bit of work, and the right actions, you can turn this customer around!

Let’s use Likeable Local’s CEO, Dave Kerpen, as an example of this business tactic. Dave's interesting experience with this type of above-and-beyond customer service managed to change his family’s sour attitude towards the customer service team at an Orlando resort into making him a loyal and devoted fan of the business. 

The point of the story is this: “The best opportunities for surprise and delight come from the mistakes we make… If you can follow up those mistakes with a little (or a lot) of surprise and delight, you can not only erase the mistakes – you can create loyal fans for life.” – Dave Kerpen 

And that’s all there is to it. To turn around a customer you’ve already turned off, you just have to provide exceptional customer service that’s beyond what you would normally provide. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in-person customer service as was the case in Dave’s story. Often, going above and beyond just means providing some exceptional value to make up for your mistakes. This investment can potentially pay off in spades later on when this previously unhappy customer doesn’t just become a satisfied customer, but is so impressed by your actions that they’re turned into an enthusiastic referrer. Even if they don’t share their story, they’ll probably be okay with letting you share it. Nothing wrong with tooting your own horn when you do something right!


So, let’s talk about ways to turn around those sour customers we all run into: 

Step 1: Acknowledge the mistake that has been made on behalf of the business and sincerely apologize to the disgruntled customer or client. 

Step 2: Focus in on this sour customer and think of ways to make them feel appreciated to make up for the past. 

Step 3: Surprise and Delight them! Get their permission to share and highlight their story on social media. Chances are, they will be flattered and thrilled about your excellent customer service that they will turn a new leaf and change their attitude. They may even feel inclined to then refer your services to others! This is the wonderful power of word of mouth in action.


In an interconnected world of social media, these small acts of kindness don’t often go unnoticed anymore. Instead, they become powerful business actions that can continue to drive word of mouth referrals for your business, one of the strongest and most important drivers of new customers.


Now it’s your turn! Think outside the box and make sure to always appeal to the customer’s needs and wants. This will surely help ease the tension and gain new, lifelong customers. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth!

Want to dive deeper into turning negativity into positivity? There are so many possibilities, on search and on social media! Check out this webinar we did with BrandYourself! Just click the button below to get the recording.


Check Out the Webinar!


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