What can the dissatisfied customer do with the Internet?

If you ask me, quite a lot. Internet has allowed a dissatisfied customer the ability to reach far and wide without spending any money.

So what could a satisfied or a dissatisfied customer do with the help of the Internet? Both can start a “buzz” which is the result of the combined power of the Internet and word-of-mouth. Thanks to e-mail, blogs, complaint sites and chat rooms, the first word of a product or a service — good or bad — can reach thousands in no time at all. Information of your product reaches a wide range of prospective buyers with every mail. The ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ power of buzz has the potential to propel sales and profits up or down dramatically.

The buzz is the basis of another Customer Math formula 1=10,000. Which stipulates that the word-of-mouth of a satisfied or a dissatisfied customer can be propelled by the power of the Internet to 10,000 (some have estimated this number to be 20,000) or more prospective customers.
A dissatisfied customer can create a “negative buzz.” For instance, she could, with the help of the Net, bad mouth you to 10,000 or more prospective customers, resulting in a tremendous loss in profits and sales. For instance, negative buzz started by a college professor about a flaw in Intel chip finally made Intel write off $475 million as well as changed its policy regarding returns.

Or a satisfied customer could start a “positive buzz” and send your sales and profit curves shooting up. Positive buzz was responsible for the creation of an overnight sensation – the Harry Potter book series.

The buzz raises the stakes of keeping the customer satisfied or dissatisfied. When this formula is incorporated in the working of Customer Math, the results are mind-boggling. Beware of the buzz if you are not keeping your customers satisfied.

As the use of Internet increases, customers will increasingly use it to their advantage. So, if you are not keeping your customers satisfied, you are doing so at your own peril.

Beware of the -ve buzz but take advantage of the +ve buzz.

Lets look at how I am spreading the word of dissatisfied customers on the Internet. I don’t think I have informed you that on my www.customermath.com I have a Complaints Module where you can login your complaint. I have an Appreciation Module also where you can login your appreciation if a business has gone out of the way to serve you. So if any of you guys out there are dissatisfied or a delighted customer, login your complaint or appreciation.

More about customer mathematics next time.

Avinash Narula

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