37194146.thbWhen it comes to Net Promoters, one might logically assume it is easier to turn a passive (those who, according to Netpromoter.com, "are satisfied but unenthusiastic customers who are vulnerable to competitive offerings") than a detractor (unhappy customers) into a promoter.

However, passives lack any emotional connection with your business and products. Detractors, on the other hand, already feel strongly about you.

It is possible to turn a strongly negative impression into a strongly positive one with less effort than would be required to turn indifference into enthusiasm.

Select Influencers

Your time is best spent on changing the opinions of influential detractors. It may be possible to identify them by searching for negative online reviews of your products and matching the experiences described with your records. Look for reviews which have numerous comments or have been voted “helpful” on Amazon.

Offline influencers are more difficult to identify, particularly if they have complained about your products to a retailer, rather than you. Use tools such as customer survey cards packaged with your products to find long-distance detractors and contact them.

Your initial contact should yield enough information to flag particular detractors for additional follow-up.

Address the Original Concern

If you are conducting Net Promoter Score surveys and asking follow-up questions, you already have information on your detractors. This information likely either includes the reason for the detractor’s unhappiness or can help you uncover that reason.

Reach out to detractors to address even old, buried complaints. Apologize for the delay. If there has been a change in management since their original complaint, mention it. Work with them to find out what would resolve his or her complaint.

Listen, Listen, Listen

Detractors who had an isolated bad experience often want nothing more than an opportunity to vent about it. If a detractor you contact begins relating complaints about your company, products, and team members, your representative should listen and sympathize. Phrases like “I understand,” and, “That must have been very frustrating,” as well as, “I apologize,” are useful.

A Pleasant Surprise

Detractors expect poor service and malfunctioning products from you; therefore, it is easy to exceed their expectations. Surprise targeted detractors with a special offer, a free item, or even a simple personal letter from a leader within your company. This strategy is most ideal for situations in which a detractor is still purchasing your products and services out of necessity, but is recommending that others avoid your company.

Turn Detractors Into Promoters

Once you have solved the problem(s) experienced by a detractor, your next challenge is turning that person into a promoter, rather than a passive. You already know that he or she likes to share opinions with others. It is merely a matter of reminding the customer to share positive experiences as well as negative ones.

Include reminders in your correspondence with the former detractor. For instance, a representative can amiably say at the end of a call, “If you’re happy, tell your friends. If not, tell us!” You can add a similar slogan as a line item on invoices or in email signatures.