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Inbound Marketing

The Best Way to Deal with Irrational Customers

You know that horrible feeling of dealing with an irate, unsatisfied, inconsolable customer? Today, thanks to websites like Yelp.com, an irate customer can be destructive to your business by leaving negative reviews. Even if that customer was wrong, the negative review and low rating can turn away plenty potential customers.

And if that isn’t enough, there's always a danger of the irate customer's story getting picked up by major publications. For instance, this lady received poor service at a restaurant; so she is suing. And her story is being told on major websites.

One of the wisest sayings in the business world is, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." The best way to deal with an irate, irrational customer is to never let them get to that point. Let's talk about how Inbound Marketing can potentially head off clashes with irrational customers before they happen. 

Using Inbound To Set Customer Expectations

No one likes to feel as if they have been “sold” to or scammed. Your potential customer needs to know about the product or service you are offering; including the negatives.

You need to be honest enough to say when your product isn't a good fit for a potential customer. 

This kind of honesty and transparency does two things: 
  1. It builds trust.
  2. It removes the risks of people buying based on your recommendation, only to discover  it wasn't a good fit.

Informing the customer about the best solutions for their needs is paramount. This is where Inbound Marketing and marketing automation can be used to set the right expectations, so your customer gets what they thought they were getting. Even better if you can under-promise and over-deliver.

Setting the Right Expectations

As an inbound marketing agency, we deal with potential clients who have little-to-no success in generating leads through their website. Even though we know inbound marketing will bring them a ton of new business, we can't oversell it.

Marketing success doesn't happen overnight. And adopting inbound isn't a secret lottery. 

For most companies, starting from scratch, it takes 8-12 months of planting seeds before a positive ROI becomes a reality. While we've seen companies experience amazing success with inbound marketing, most of their results come after 12 months of hard work and dedication to inbound marketing methods.

We have competitors that position their agency like results will happen quickly. In some cases, they win more client retainers than we do. But at the end of the day, they are churning through a lot more as well. Simply because they over-promise and under-deliver.

We're not in business to make a quick buck. Our strategy is to work with dedicated brands who want to provide a remarkable user experience to their customers. When we find a brand like that, we want to be their long-term partners. We want to be a trusted advisor. We can't do that by saying whatever we can to close the deal. Instead, we have to be honest and set realistic expectations. We don't win as many contracts this way, but those we do win, for the most part, are in it to win long-term.

Most of the time, we exceed our clients expectations in the short term, which is great for them. But we don't promise the moon when we know it's going to take months of hard work to build a suitable launch pad. 

Our clients trust us to tell them the truth. 

Reducing Irrational Customer Events

Inbound Marketing is about educating. You can also think of it as Information-Based Marketing. 

It nurtures leads with educational eBooks, slideshows, videos, whitepapers, etc. The goal of the Inbound Marketer is not to sell, but to educate the customer to make wise buying decisions. 

If you have informed the customers of the positives and negatives of your product or service, they will be able to make a wise decision. When they experience the negatives, they don't overreact or have a bad experience because they were expecting them.

Sometimes a wise decision is to not buy. Companies need to get comfortable with the fact that they aren't the best fit for everyone. But building a reputation of trustworthiness is worth losing every bad-fit sale. Not only that, but you significantly reduce the risk of an irate customer event.

Educate and Inform, Don't Pitch and Sell

Inbound Marketing is about helping and educating, not selling.

If you're dealing with irrational, unsatisfied customers, it's a good sign that you may be withholding critical information before the purchase, or you are setting unreasonable expectations.

Go back to your website and create the content that would have nipped the irrational event in the bud. 

Written by William Ballard / April 10, 2015

William Ballard, a regular contributor to Entreprenuer.com, is a solo entrepreneur and business owner in Ontario, Canada. A former network-marketer, William definitely knows how to go from original business idea to established business operation. His business tips and marketing wisdom has been featured on Entreprenuer.com as well as many other online business websites. William is a husband, writer and author. In his spare time you can usually find him reading or making notes for his next book. But above all else, William loves spending quality time with his loving wife. She truly holds his heart.

Articles by William Ballard