There is no doubt that great brand experiences keep customers coming back from more. But what really tests brands’ mettle is when things fail to stick to the script, when things go wrong. Very wrong.

How businesses respond to rectify and move through very sticky situations speaks volumes and carries huge weight in showing their customers both what they are made of as an organization and how much their clients’ loyalty truly means to them. Manage such situations incorrectly though and bad customer experiences can take a lifetime to erase. You’ll lose the client forever.


Bad times don’t last but trust does


No matter how solid a reputation for building strong, reliable cars a manufacturer may have, all you need is a third-party component fault, and you are toast. Think a couple of million vehicles with faulty airbags and several million more hybrid vehicles which possibly could not enter failsafe driving mode, meaning they would lose power and stall. Not the best thing to happen when cruising down Route 66. And both the same manufacturer. Neither are situations we would like to have dropped in our laps. It’s these types of moments that brands dread, in particular when mistakes mean there are genuine safety concerns and risks to human life.

A bit closer to home, do you remember the multi-million unit smartphone recall in 2017 due to faulty batteries leading to some of the devices randomly overheating and quite literally burning? Well, that recall is thought to have cost over $5 billion and was a PR department’s stuff of nightmares. You get the gist.


Using A2P communication to right the ship


So, what should you do if such a situation stares you in the face? Well, first off, don’t panic. Don’t treat it as a death sentence for your business. If you are pragmatic about it you can do a 180 and steer it into positive territory. Fight the fire in the aftermath intelligently and there are ways to build positive relationships with dissatisfied customers and maintain loyalty to your brand. Even increase it.

The key to successfully navigating your way through troubled waters is a slick, smart customer engagement strategy using digital channels your customers are super familiar with. Think Application-to-Person (A2P) SMS and chat apps such as WhatsApp Business. Challenging times are not the time to road-test new ways of conversing with your customers. Stick with the old faithful and they will repay you in spades.

There has been plenty of research done into customer engagement following major brand incidents and all have one element in common: approximately 9 out of 10 consumers would be more likely to remain loyal to a brand that handles a product recall rapidly, responsibly, and fairly.

Delay reaching out to clients when things head south and it automatically puts you on the backfoot. It also has the potential to expose you to possible litigation, regulatory scrutiny – as well as of course brand damage. Speed is of the essence and this is where our intuitive, easy-to-use Communications Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS) solution comes in. It is highly scalable and brings multiple mobile digital channels into play so no matter how many people you have to contact and wherever they may be around the world, Mitto can manage any volume of messages you put our way. It might now be in its 29th year but given its ubiquity and the fact that well over 98% of SMS are read by their recipients – the majority within five minutes of receiving them – we don’t think you could ever go too far wrong using it to reach your customers when you really need to and time is absolutely against you. If you delay, you won’t have a second chance of making that good first impression when you find things running away from you. Don’t overthink it and whilst so much else might be complicated to deal with, great customer engagement isn’t.