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The Anatomy of a Detractor

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Have you ever had one of those experiences as a customer where you walk away swearing to never return? Where nothing about how you were treated or what you were provided seemed anywhere near acceptable?

I think everyone can relate to an experience like that. In fact, some of you have probably had many experiences like that unfortunately.

Can you remember that feeling? Can you remember the lengths you were willing to go to make sure that your negative experience was heard by anyone with ears?

That’s what it feels like to be a detractor.

To be fair, what I described above is likely a strong detractor (0-1 on an NPS scale), but just keep that feeling in your mind when your customers identify themselves as detractors to your business.

If word of mouth recommendations and referrals are the lifeblood of any business, negative reviews and negative word-of-mouth are the cancer. And, unfortunately they spread fast and with far more impact.

According to a survey of over 3,200 random consumers, 75% of them had indicated that they be likely to share a negative experience with their friends and colleagues, while only 42% of them said they’d recommend a product or service that they enjoyed.

What it comes down to is that negative experiences can drastically outweigh the impact that positive experiences can have. That means that for every detractor you have, you need several promoters to advocate for the brand.

This is one of the primary reasons why any positive NPS score (anything over 0) is considered a “Good” score by NPS standards. Based on the calculation, it simply means that you have more promoters than you have detractors. The more that gap widens, the more positive bottom line impact and growth you’re going to see.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post on the blog that dove deeper into theAnatomy of a Promoter to give you a first hand look at their habits and the potential impact they can have on your business (more than you might think).

Now I’m going to dive deeper into detractors — what they do and their potential impact on your bottom line and overall reputation.

In order to properly manage your detractors, it’s helpful to know what one looks like in real life.

About two years ago my wife and I got a letter in the mail from our (then) cable company, Charter Communications. The letter stated that our contract was soon coming up for renewal and that our new rate would be increasing by 70%.

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