Care about converting your customers including frustrated customers into your brand advocates? Want to build customer loyalty? You will find this real case study about building brand advocates through Social Media useful.
How to Turn a Frustrated Customer into Your Brand Advocate
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How to Turn a Frustrated Customer into Your Brand Advocate?
It was Nov 21st and a startup co-founder in Delhi needed to book a cab for his wife
and daughter, who were supposed to go to a birthday party in the evening. In order
to avoid any last minute issues, he booked Ola cabs, one of the popular Indian radio
taxi services, by 11 AM for 5:15 PM departure from his home.
At 4:50 PM he received a call from his wife expressing her frustration towards Ola
cabs, who’d just called her to inform about cancellation of the cab due to nonavailability. He was about to enter into an important meeting but found himself in a
difficult situation despite his best effort to book the cab well in time. He started
looking for other options and called other radio taxi providers in Delhi.
In the middle of his efforts, he received a message from Ola cabs with details of the
driver for the cab. He called the driver only to realize that the driver was at least 40
kms away from his home and thus would not be of any help. He tried his best talking
to other service providers but couldn’t find success till next 30 minutes. Finally, he
gave up and had to accept that his 6-year daughter will have to miss much awaited
birthday party of one of her best friends. Obviously it impacted his participation in the
meeting at office.
He reached home frustrated and listened to his wife’s experience in dealing with Ola
cabs’ customer service personnel. He decided that he would at least write a detailed
In order to express his frustration, he tweeted his experience with Ola cabs.
Soon, he received a response on Twitter from Ola Cabs. They apologized, asked for
details of his order and promised to do something.
While he shared his order details, he categorically told them that there’s nothing they
can do now to control the damage.
Ola cabs had also mentioned that they would call him tomorrow. He received a call
next day from one of the senior customer relationship managers at Ola cabs. The
representative patiently heard his experience and once again apologized. The
representative mentioned that he had listened to the conversations customer’s wife
had with Ola cabs personnel a day before and deeply empathized with the customer
for spoiling the party especially for the child. Without any defense, the representative
also apologized for the incorrect allotment of the cab. At the same time, the
representative assured the customer that they will not let this experience repeat and
will also do something to make up for their mistake.
While he was little settled, he was still considering writing a review. After reaching
home, he was pleasantly surprised to know that his daughter was happy for the gift
she had received from Ola cabs.
It was a cake and the box carried this message.
He was surely touched and decided to forgive Ola cabs and give them another
chance. Obviously, he cancelled the idea of writing a review.
Do you want to know who’s the customer in this story? It’s me, who wrote this post.
As a co-founder of Digital Marketing education firm, I always love to learn and distill
knowledge through real life experiences. My earlier experience of solving long
pending problem with a large private bank through Twitter was very well received.
I would like to capture the key takeaways about managing a reputation from this
i) Quick acknowledgement pacifies a frustrated customer: I was really
angry and was all set to take revenge by writing a review. The moment Ola
cabs acknowledged their mistake on Twitter and promised to call tomorrow, I
was bit relaxed. If you can give the ‘experience of being heard’ to a
dissatisfied customer, you’ve done half of the job.
ii) A genuine apology doesn’t hurt: There was no attempt from Ola cabs to
defend their mistake and put the blame on someone else. The fact that they
took responsibility of the situation encouraged me to give them another
iii) Knowing the world of your customer is critical to winning his trust:
There was genuine effort to understand the gravity of the situation. They could
appreciate the emotional damage caused to my wife and my daughter.
iv) Creativity works even in crisis situations: Despite their promise to make
up for the loss on the phone, I was sure that they would not be able to do
anything as damage had already been done. The best I could expect was that
they would send some typical gift. They choosing birthday cake as a gift was
really creative and it surely demonstrated their ability to understand the
customer. Moreover, the personalized message was an icing on the cake,
which ensured that I dropped my idea of writing a review against them.
v) You can always convert a frustrated customer to your brand
ambassador: The fact that I’ve written this article versus writing a review
against them is live evidence.
About the Author
Pradeep Chopra (CEO, Digital Vidya)
Among the pioneers of Digital Marketing, Pradeep Chopra
has been part of the Internet Industry since 2000. He has
been a serial entrepreneur for last 13 years and is currently a
Co-founder & CEO of Digital Vidya, India’s premier Digital
Marketing training company. A graduate from IIT Delhi,
Pradeep is a core member of the Global Committee at
SEMPO USA, a non-profit that nurtures the growth of Digital
Marketing globally. He also sits on the advisory board of
Social Media Chambers Malaysia. He’s a tweet away