Hell Hath No Fury Like a Customer Scorned


Imagine your residents listening in on a phone conversation between you and one very unhappy resident — the type of conversation that raises your blood pressure and causes you to move the telephone handset at least 12 inches from your ear at one or more point.

Back in the day, the result of such a conversation was pretty simple. When you really upset a resident they started a petition, knocked on their neighbor’s doors until the page was full, and then sent the petition to the corporate office.
Today, with a few words, clicks, or a video, their complaint can reach thousands of people in a matter of a few seconds. Scary thought…huh?  It’s called social media!

Social media accelerates your residents’ ability to spread word of mouth. It can positively or negatively impact the bottom line of your company and your reputation. The 2010 Customer Experience Impact Report, commissioned by RightNow and conducted by Harris Interactive, unveiled some significant results on the overall influence customer experience has. Here are the highlights of their findings.


According to the report, a bad customer experience leads to 95% of respondents taking action.

You probably remember the protest song by Canadian musician Dave Carroll.  The song tells of how his guitar was broken during a trip on United Airlines in 2008, and the subsequent reaction from the airline. His song became an immediate YouTube and iTunes hit and a public relations nightmare for the airline. Dave Carroll showed the world how one person, armed with an idea, some friends, and the Internet, could turn an entire industry upside down. He took his negative customer experience to the “social media” video streets and it went viral—resulting in over 12 million views and a book called, “United Breaks Guitars-The Power of Once Voice in the Age of Social Media.

While not every bad customer experience ends up in a book deal, there are a few factors that motivate unhappy customers to tell others about their bad experience.

  • 85% of customers want to warn others about the pitfalls of doing business with that company
  • 66% want to discourage others from buying from that company
  • 55% want to vent anger
  • 24% want to see if the company will take action to resolve the issue 


“‘I must do something’ always solves more problems than “Something must be done’.”   – Unknown author

Companies are beginning to understand this phenomenon and have seen the impact that a negative experience can have on their reputation and bottom line. In today’s transparent environment, owning up to your mistake and taking action can yield positive results.

This survey revealed that nearly 92% of consumers said they would be willing to go back to a company after a negative customer experience IF they

  • Received a follow up apology/correction from a supervisor/head office (63%)
  • Were offered proof of enhanced customer service (54%)
  • Were offered a discount (52%)

Could it really be as easy as saying “I’m sorry.”?

It’s apparent that consumers are listening to what their friends are saying and it is influencing what, when, where and why they buy. With 76% of those surveyed saying that word of mouth most influenced their purchasing decision; it begs the question of the impact companies could have on their bottom line if they placed their customer experience investments above traditional marketing and sales.

By the way, 49% also admitted that they were influenced by customer reviews and feedback. When was the last time you read your apartment reviews and ratings? Do you have a social media follow-up process in place that works?

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