Making Detractors into Promoters

Tosin Tomiwa
3 min readAug 21, 2020


Irrespective of the industry a business exists in or how perfect the business might be, there would always be individuals who stand as its chronic critic. Individuals in this category are categorized as detractors.

Detractors are not just unhappy customers who leave negative feedback or comments or would not pay for your product or service, they also go ahead to discourage other people from patronizing. Hence, affecting the conversion rate of your business.

A good example of this is evident in how often we check for customer feedback when making purchases online. This habit is not just peculiar with a few of customers or prospective customers, well above the average number of customers do this on a daily basis. You should note that a dissatisfied customer has the potential to tell about 9–15 people about their experience with your business.

As much as dealing with angry customers or negative feedback might not be any easy, that does not mean that you ought to let the customer go with his/her aggravation. Addressing it allows more opportunity for you as a business to improve as well as make distinctive changes to your customer relations.

To be able to determine who the detractors are for a business, an analysis tagged the “net promoter score” is often carried out.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is used to gauge the loyalty of customers and their willingness to recommend your business to other people. A number of e-commerce businesses utilize this, mostly after a purchase has been made, and it’s often in the form of a survey with a few questions to determine the satisfaction of the customer.

Using the Net Promoter Score, customers are grouped into three, including the following;

  • Detractors (0–6): Those within this category scored between 0 and 6 and they are more than likely to be disloyal to the business.
  • Passives (7–8): Here, the customers scored either 7 or 8 and they comprise of customers that are neither loyal nor disloyal.
  • Promoters (9–10): Customers here are scored between 9 and 10 and they are the loyal ones. Those here are pleased with the business and they have the tendency to refer the business’ service to others.

There are different reasons why detractors have to be identified in one’s business. Other than the fact that they have the tendency to speak ill of your business, their action and inaction can significantly cut down your business revenue, as a result of their churn rate. Also, once they churn out, their activity (that is, discouraging others from patronizing your business) has the tendency to speak much louder than that of the business promoters.

Despite all of this, before a detractor can churn, they can be managed and even transformed to be a promoter of one’s business, though this might be pretty challenging, if not difficult.

Below are a number of points that can aid the process;

  • Create adequate room for customers to give complaints if need be.
  • Acknowledge whatever concern they put forth without being defensive about it.
  • Strategies to know what your customers want. This can range from an option for free delivery of service to a reduction in price, speedy service, among others.
  • Strategize on how to provide solutions to your detractors.
  • When issues arise, attend to them fast enough so customers would not churn out.
  • When it comes to customer service, do not be minimal about getting the best hands-on deck as this would be the first point of contact with customers and any wrong response can lead to an irreversible outcome.
  • Finally, in all of the challenges that you might encounter while dealing with customers, always be keen on your lessons, as they are your biggest source of learning.

Conclusively, it’s worth noting that dissatisfied customers have the tendency to spread harmful messages about one’s business and the earlier the displeasure is attended to, the more the opportunity to increase the business one's retention rate while avoiding churn, all in total.