The impact of one voice on your business

Recently, I was re-watching (again) the TV sitcom ‘The Office’ and I was reminded of a very interesting business insight. I don’t know how accurate the statistic was, but it got me thinking enough to look into it a bit more.

The impact of one voice on your business


The statistic appears on an old 1980’s VHS recording of a customer service seminar and the presenter states,

"If you’re treated well as a customer you’ll tell five people. If you’re treated badly, you’ll tell nine"

I couldn’t find any sources to back up that statement, but it seems legitimate on the face of it, especially in the 1980’s before the internet. But what got me really interested was the question in my head,

If that was the case in the 1980’s, what would those numbers be now?

Communication Changes

People can communicate with each other a lot faster through new messaging platforms, easier communications and because of the internet, you can almost instantly find the opinions of somebody that you have never met and never will meet. Back then, you’d have to meet with people or pick up the phone to communicate with somebody.

In 2018, one voice travels far further, far faster than in the 1980’s. As an extreme and recent example, look at the impact a single tweet by Kylie Jenner had on Snapchat! $1.3bn wiped off their value, by one tweet.

So what impact can one voice have on your business? I did some digging and found some research statistics that can provide some insight. Sadly, I couldn’t find an research on how many people would read a positive or negative review online, but here are some other highlights that explain the impact of online feedback.


of customers won't tell you if they're unhappy


of these customers will never come back


of people pause to buy when seeing negative reviews

And between 1 and 3 bad reviews is enough to stop 67% of people purchasing from a business

The internet has made it much easier for people to share their experience. TripAdvisor is the leader in review aggregation and a good TripAdvisor score is crucial to acquiring new customers for the majority of businesses. Based on the above statistics, one negative review on TripAdvisor could seriously impact your ability to gain a new customer.

Friends and Family

Here’s another fact I found,

Only reviews from friends and family are trusted more than online reviews.

So, every time somebody goes onto Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc, and vents their frustration at their experience, that is a damning verdict on your business and you may never see the people connected to that person walking through your door. On the other hand, if it’s a positive review, that person has just become an advocate for you and brought you new customers.

I want to come back to the first statistic – 96% of unhappy customers won’t tell you. Why won’t they tell you? In my opinion, it's simple. Did you ask?

My guess is no and if you did, they will usually be positive (especially if you work in Britain). Customers tend not to want the conflict and awkwardness unless they’ve been treated really badly.

Customers want to know that you care so it is always important to ask how their experience was. More importantly, to get a true opinion, you should follow up and ask them how their experience was after they have left your venue. Digital engagement is very important in retaining a customer and turning them into an advocate.

Reviews by Social WiFi

Social WiFi have built this as a fundamental part of their customer engagement system. We know that an unhappy customer has the ability to speak to thousands of other people just through a few keystrokes on the internet. We also know that a happy customer can be your most valuable marketing tool.

Reviews by Social WiFi enable you to automatically ask your guests and customers how their experience was. By detecting when a customer as left the business, a message is triggered asking for their feedback. If the response is positive then that customer can be encouraged to go further and share that opinion online, typically on TripAdvisor.

But if that review is below satisfactory, Social WiFi have a plan for that. The comments and feedback are returned to the venue manager and a two-way communication channel can be opened to resolve the matter before the unhappy customer goes online and shares their thoughts. And here’s another really important reason why we do it.

95% of unhappy customers will return to a business if an issue is resolved quickly and efficiently.

Social WiFi is far more than just a WiFi Marketing tool. Used correctly, Social WiFi will help you win new customers and retain the ones that you already have.


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