Will Rogers famously said, “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.”

Of course, it’s true that your business will never have the chance to make another FIRST impression. But if you make a bad first, or tenth, or twentieth impression because of poor communication, a big product or customer service mistake, a bad day or any one of a myriad of ways you can disappoint a customer, can you use marketing to make an unsatisfied customer into a “re-satisfied” one? We say yes.

Re-satisfying a particular customer may not be possible, especially if the screw-up was a bad one (or, let’s face it, it’s just a customer that won’t be satisfied). But, you can use these situations to your advantage in your marketing and you may “re-satisfy” a disgruntled customer or two along the way.

Here are a few ways you can use marketing to address issues and possibly re-satisfy a customer (or group of customers):

 Tell the story. It’s hard to admit when you’re wrong, but sometimes telling a story about how your company messed up can show that you understand where you went wrong and what you’re doing to make sure it doesn’t happen again. You may catch some heat – after all, some people love to be keyboard warriors, especially on Facebook – but others will appreciate your honesty, vulnerability and attention to customers.

Ask for feedback. If you’ve identified a gap in your customer service practices, or a service you offer often seems to fall short with your customers, consider asking for feedback via social media, email and your website. Don’t make it a long, complicated survey. Ask for open-ended comments. Respond to any feedback you receive promptly and compile a list of any messages and suggestions that are helpful to share with your team.

Since the statistics show that for every one customer who actually complains, over 20 may remain silent, actively soliciting feedback from past and current customers may be an eye-opener.

Show your appreciation. Create a marketing campaign that centers around customer appreciation. Depending on your service, you may be able to send notes or give small gifts to loyal customers. You may also feature customers (with their permission, of course) on your social media profiles. Reminding everyone on your team, as well as the public, that customers are why you exist, can refocus a company’s mindset.

Reach back to disgruntled customers. It might be good to wait a bit, but if the customer seems to be reasonable, consider sending a personal note or making a phone call and offering a discount if they give you a second chance.

Happy customers who get their issue resolved often tell 4-6 people about the positive experience. On the other hand, a dissatisfied customer will often tell 9-15 people about a bad experience (White House Office of Consumer Affairs). Taking time to address and validate a customer’s feelings and viewpoint can go a long way toward making better FIRST impressions with new customers.

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