Detractors: How To Convert Them Into Promoters


Detractors Detractors
Table of Contents

What are Detractors?

Detractors, as mentioned, are the customers who are extremely unhappy with the service you provide. Unhappy customers stop using your service or product. But the nightmare is that Detractors negatively promote the business they are upset with. 

They share their disappointing experience with their friends and recommend not doing business with the brand. They may also write about their negative experience with the company on public platforms which can influence the opinion of many of your potential customers.

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Why is it important to identify Detractors?

Detractors are a great way to learn what your service or product lacks. You can learn why customers are dissatisfied with your company. By understanding these factors that are causing them to leave your company, you can solve them. 

Following up with the detractors can lead your business to a more customer-centric direction. Understanding their sentiment and reasons can help you make the necessary changes. It is impossible to reach out and personally interact with each of your detractors. However, following up with them can certainly benefit you and your business. 

Fortunately, studies say that 95% of unhappy customers or Detractors are willing to give the company a second chance. Also, 11% of consumers would avoid leaving the company if the company resolved their issue on time. 

  • Unhappy customers can share negative experiences widely, which can potentially harm your business’s reputation. 
  • Identifying detractors early enables you to implement timely intervention, reducing the likelihood of losing customers. 
  • Their feedback provides valuable insights into areas that require improvement, guiding data-driven enhancement. 
  • By resolving detractor’s issues, you can enhance overall customer satisfaction and experience. 
  • This also presents an opportunity to initiative conversation and convert dissatisfied customers into loyal promoters. 
  • Proactively addressing detractor issues can help you gain a competitive edge by demonstrating your commitment to customer satisfaction. 
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How to identify Detractors?

Detractors are a category of NPS® survey metrics. The metric allows you to identify the customers who are unhappy with the company’s service by tracking their overall experience with the business. NPS® has a wide reach to analyze customer experience. You can use the survey metric to customers who are at risk of leaving and also the newly acquired customers who just started using the service. 

Other than NPS®, you can also use Customer Satisfaction Score or CSAT to analyze the active customers and their satisfaction with every interaction. The feedback collected from CSAT can be used along with NPS® to examine the root cause of customer issues. 

You can use NPS® and CSAT and follow along the customer journey to identify major issues, narrow them down, and develop strategies to correct these issues.

  • Implement NPS surveys to gauge customers’ likelihood of recommending your business and its offerings to others. 
  • Actively capturing customer feedback using surveys can help gather real-time insights into customer sentiments. Consistent negative feedback signals potential detractors. 
  • Unusual drops in purchase frequency or in the average translation value may suggest customer dissatisfaction. You can monitor these patterns to identify potential detractors. 
  • Periodically conducting surveys enables you to delve into specific aspects of customer experience and uncover the cause of discontent. 

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Problems Detractors can cause for your business

How bad is it to leave detractors alone? Here are a few ways dissatisfied customers can harm your business. 

Bring down your business:

  • 41% of customers spend less on a company if they have a bad experience with their service. 
  • Unhappy customers cannot find any reason to continue doing business with you. You will need to find new customers; we know that acquiring new customers is five times more expensive. As a result, you won’t have a balance between your revenue and expenses. Your company will lose more money.
  • Not only will you lose money on advertising and marketing campaigns, but you will also lose time and manpower. Your team will be distracted by the loss of customers, so it is better to have them provide service for the existing customers. 
  • Did you know that in the US, a business loses, on average, $41 billion/year for poor service?

Ruin brand image:

  • Word-of-mouth is a double-edged tool. While it can help you promote your business, it can also ruin it. 
  • With social media and the internet as mainstream communication channels, one negative comment from a detractor can cost you many prospective customers. Customers use social media to complain about their bad experiences with the company. 70% of customers use social media to call out brands in order to inform other people of probable issues.

Go to your competitors:

  • A bad experience is enough reason for your detractors to look for alternate services. 8 out of 10 customers claim that if they experience poor customer service, they have no issue doing business with the company’s competitor. 
  • Your competitors are not going to miss out on any opportunity that can help them acquire your customers. 
  • 40% of customers say that they will find an alternative to do business with if they feel underappreciated. Ignoring your detractors is like gifting your own customers to your competitors.
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How can you convert Detractors into Promoters?

Recognizing potential detractors gives you the opportunity to understand the cause and take corrective actions to improve their experience. Here are some ways you can convert detractors into loyal promoters. 

01. Follow up on Feedback 

Detractors are hard to set on leaving your company. You cannot do the bare minimum to keep them and convert them into promoters. Identifying the customer should be followed by a follow-up to see how you can resolve their complaint. Once you receive their feedback, act on it, share it across the department, and discuss problems that seem to repeat. 

Don’t keep the detractors out of the loop. Communicate with them throughout the process of solving their issue. Detractors can give you insights into why they feel dissatisfied with your service. It can give you a clear picture of why you are losing so many customers. As a result, you can decide which issue to handle first and how. Follow up with detractors again to tell them your action plan and the result of your decision. 

02. Humanize your customers

The most important thing to win over a customer is to treat them with compassion and show them that you understand their frustration. Customers are well aware that you are following scripts when talking to them. This makes them feel unappreciated. They feel they are just a number on the list of problems you have to deal with. 

To ensure that your customers feel appreciated you have made them feel that it is not just a scripted but a friendly conversation. You have to give them a sense of security and emotional connection. Don’t follow the script and talk like a robot; if customers want that, they will use AI chats instead of calling for live agents. 

Apologize and relate to the customer’s frustration. Use a friendly tone to calm them and pay attention to the customer’s tone as well. This will help you decide the right way to approach the customer and resolve their issue. 

03. Fast Response

Your customers become detractors because of your service team’s slow response. Place yourself in your customer’s shoes and imagine the difference between waiting for an hour and waiting for more than 24 hours to receive a response. The difference in the time taken to respond makes a huge difference. 

When you provide a solution within an hour, it shows that you care about your customers and are concerned about their experience. It shows how important they are for you while also saving your reputation.90% of customers expect an immediate response from the company, while 60% expect a response within 10 minutes. You can improve your slow response with Automation. Personalize the automated response rather than using generic responses. 

You can personalize emails for the detractors by optimizing an email reply to them when they give you a rating between 0 and 6. You can include their name, acknowledge their frustration, and with further questions to figure out the reason for the rating with a thank you note at the end. 

04. Be honest with your customers

If you are overselling your abilities while providing an unsatisfying experience you are making your own Detractors. 

Be honest with your customers because they are a big part of your success. Share with them if you are dealing with some issues and limitations. Tell your customers that you are listening to their complaints and feedback. Share with them how you are planning to improve your service. Tell your detractors that you will help them with the issue instead of avoiding their complaints. 

Your ultimate purpose should be to give your customers a good experience and make them feel a part of your family. 

05. Chart an unpleasant customer journey

This may sound surprising, but you can prevent any future complaints by drawing a possible unpleasant customer journey. You can use different unfavorable scenarios that your customers may face with your service that could convert them into Detractors. 

You can use these detractor touchpoints to improve the journey by having the departments responsible for them handle these issues. The departments should assess relevant metrics to improve the customer journey. 

Track improvement by using NPS® and keep on improving the detractor’s journey. This can help you understand the reasons causing your customers to become detractors. As a result, you can prevent any issues in the future while also improving the customer.

06. Implement closed-loop customer experience: 

Once you have gathered feedback from all your customers and identified detractors, you must quickly follow up to resolve the situation. You need to initiate a conversation with them and explain why you are following up. Use this as an opportunity to understand their perspective and opinion to prevent them from spreading negative word-of-mouth. 

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How can NPS software help identify detractors and convert them into promoters?

Net Promoter Score is pivotal in identifying detractors and facilitating their conversion into promoters. Here are ways you can utilize it. 

01. Real-time feedback collection

The software allows you to gather feedback from customers in real-time via multiple channels. This allows you to identify detractors early, enabling you to pinpoint issues before they escalate. 

02. Alert for detractor responses:

You can identify negative feedback or low score promptly and take a proactive approach to address customer’s concerns. 

03. Follow-up for in-depth feedback: 

The software allows you to gather in-depth feedback from customers beyond the standard NPS question. You can ask follow-up open-ended questions to capture customer sentiment and uncover themes in their feedback. 

04. Automated communication: 

NPS tool often allows you to automate responses to engage detractors, promoters, and passive respondents with customized messages. This enables you to demonstrate that you have acknowledged their feedback and assure them that their concerns are being addressed. 

05. Trend analysis for continuous improvement:

Gathering NPS data over time will help you track changes in customer sentiment. A robust NPS dashboard can help you identify trends, recurring themes, and keywords to identify the efficiency of implemented strategies. This empowers you to ensure the business adapts to evolving customer needs and expectations. 


In this competitive and evolving business landscape where customer satisfaction drives a business’s success, it is imperative to identify detractors. Identifying detractors lies in the recognition that dissatisfied customers are not isolated cases. They represent the potential threats to your brand’s reputation. 

If left unaddressed, dissatisfied customers can influence prospective customers and harm the brand image with negative reviews. The process of identifying detractors and converting them into promoters is a testament to a business’ dedication and commitment to exceeding customer expectations. 

In a competitive marketplace, where customer loyalty is a rare commodity and a powerful asset, transforming detracting customers to loyal brand promoters is imperative for sustainable success.

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