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Having detractors in your surveys is not the end of the world – if you know how to fix them.

Ever wondered how unhappy customers can actually become your brand’s biggest fans? 

Let’s dive into the world of NPS detractors and uncover the secret to transforming them into promoters.

What is an NPS detractor?

A NPS detractor is a customer who gives a score of 0-6 on a net promoter score (NPS) survey. The score indicates dissatisfaction and a higher likelihood of spreading negative feedback about your business.

Types of detractors

But it’s not only this. There are a few types worth mentioning.

The silent skeptics

Dissatisfied customers who rarely voice their concerns through NPS survey software or other feedback channels are called silent skeptics. 

Their low NPS scores can be misleading because they don’t provide valuable feedback on their negative experiences. 

Businesses need to encourage feedback from this group to understand their concerns actively. 

➡️ Tip: Create personalized follow-up strategies, such as direct outreach or targeted surveys with open-ended questions. It can help convert these detractors by addressing their specific issues, even though it might be time-consuming.

Surveylab is a great, mobile-friendly tool for creating surveys with many question types, open-ended included. 

You can manage all your surveys in one place and collect them from multiple channels: email, SMS, WWW, web widget, popup, QR code, mobile app, Facebook, Twitter, and more.

Surveylab for creating a NPS survey and improve customer experience

The vocal critics

They are not shy about sharing their dissatisfaction. They often leave detailed negative feedback and low NPS scores and highlight specific pain points. 

This group’s feedback, while challenging, is valuable for identifying areas needing improvement. 

➡️ Tip: Great customer service teams can turn NPS detractors into promoters by: 

  • directly dealing with their complaints, 
  • implementing changes, 
  • following up to inform them about new features or improvements made in response to their feedback.

The disengaged users

Disengaged users show low engagement levels with the product or service, reflected in their low NPS scores and lack of interaction. 

They might have had negative experiences or found the service not meeting their expectations. 

➡️ Tip: Companies can use NPS responses to create personalized engagement plans to boost engagement and convert detractors from this category, such as offering tutorials on new features or providing incentives for increased product usage.

The misaligned expectations

Customers with misaligned expectations have a perception of the product or service that doesn’t match reality. It may lead to dissatisfaction and low NPS scores. 

This discrepancy might stem from misleading advertising or a misunderstanding of the offered features. 

➡️ Tip: Addressing this group’s concerns involves clear communication and setting realistic expectations. Sometimes, introducing a new feature that aligns with their expectations or educating them about the existing features can convert detractors into satisfied customers.

The one-time complainers

One-time complainers are characterized by a single negative experience that drastically lowers their NPS score. 

It may be, for instance, a product defect, a single instance of poor customer service, or any other issue. 

➡️ Tip: Tackle these complaints quickly, possibly through a dedicated support team. Ensure a resolution can often turn these detractors into promoters. A glowing recommendation from a previously dissatisfied customer can be incredibly powerful.

The chronic dissenters

It’s a small but vocal group that consistently provides low NPS scores and negative feedback across multiple interactions or over time. 

Their issues may stem from: 

  • fundamental disagreements with the company’s direction, 
  • repeated negative experiences,
  • unresolved complaints,

and more.

Converting detractors of this type can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. 

➡️ Tip: Use a strategic approach. Include there regular follow-up, acknowledgment of their ongoing concerns, and genuine efforts to address issues. 

Why should you identify detractors?

It’s crucial for any business that wants to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

Identifying detractors lets companies address issues proactively and transform unhappy customers into brand advocates.

But there are more reasons.

Enhance customer satisfaction

Identifying detractors through customer surveys and NPS scores is the first step in boosting overall customer satisfaction. 

You need to understand the specific reasons behind low scores. Then, companies can implement targeted improvements. 

➡️ Example: if a recent survey indicates that many detractors are dissatisfied due to poor customer service, this insight directs the support team to refine their approach, potentially turning unhappy customers into satisfied ones. 

Strengthen customer loyalty

Loyal customers are the backbone of any successful business. 

When companies identify and address detractors’ concerns, they can convert them into loyal promoters. 

The transformation often begins with a follow-up on negative feedback, where personalized attention can rectify a bad experience. 

➡️ Example: an unhappy customer who felt neglected might become a loyal customer after receiving direct support and seeing their issues resolved promptly.

Reduce churn rate of each unhappy customer

Detractors are more likely to stop using a service or switch to a competitor. NPS surveys can help businesses identify and address the pain points of unsatisfied customers, ultimately reducing churn.

Implementing a feedback loop that encourages opinions from every customer segment gives companies a chance to demonstrate their commitment to client satisfaction while retaining existing customers.

Improve product and service quality

Negative feedback is often a goldmine for valuable insights into product or service improvements. It is possible to determine specific areas where a company’s offerings fall short after identifying and analyzing its detractors. 

Then, companies can develop new features or enhancements that not only meet the needs of a particular customer but also appeal to potential customers. 

Result? Improved overall product usage and satisfaction.

Boost customer engagement via customer feedback

Engaging with detractors shows that a company values all customer feedback, not just the positive. 

The engagement, especially when it leads to visible changes or improvements, can boost overall customer base engagement. 

➡️ Example: address a common complaint highlighted by many detractors. Communicating these changes so you encourage more user feedback and participation. And see how vibrant and interactive the customer community is.

Enhance company reputation

Turning detractors into promoters can have a big impact on a company’s reputation. 

Satisfied customers are more likely to leave glowing recommendations, both online and through word-of-mouth. 

Reacting to negative reviews and converting unhappy customers can lead to positive change in public perception. It demonstrates a company’s commitment to excellence and responsiveness to customer needs.

Drive business growth

Satisfied and loyal customers tend to make more purchases and recommend the company to others, expanding the customer base. 

Moreover, when improving the customer journey based on feedback from detractors, businesses can create a cycle of positive experiences. 

And this is something that attracts new customers and encourages repeat business, laying the foundation for sustainable growth.

Customers' feedback

Source: Designs.ai

How to identify detractors? Proven ways

Ok, there are many advantages of spotting when, but how to actually do it? Check out our tips!

01 Leveraging NPS surveys for insight

When asking customers to rate their likelihood of recommending your business on a scale of 0-10 NPS surveys are a pivotal tool in identifying detractors, then. 

Those who score 0-6 are classified as detractors. This method gives a clear metric to measure customer satisfaction and pinpoint those who had negative experiences. 

Conduct NPS surveys regularly, so you can track changes in customer sentiment over time, allowing for timely interventions to turn detractors into promoters.

02 Analyzing customer feedback across channels

Collecting and analyzing customer feedback from various channels, including social media, email, and customer support interactions, may offer you a better view of customer satisfaction. 

Dissatisfied customers often voice their concerns through these platforms. 

Monitor feedback across channels, to identify common themes and specific issues faced by detractors. Also, it enables targeted actions to improve the customer experience.

03 Monitoring social media mentions and reviews

Social media platforms and review sites are where unsatisfied customers frequently share their experiences. 

Track mentions of your company and analyze reviews. It would be easier to reveal detractors and the reasons behind their dissatisfaction. 

This real-time feedback is invaluable for businesses looking to address concerns quickly and efficiently. It also may turn negative perceptions into positive outcomes as well.

04 Implementing a feedback loop

Establishing a feedback loop within your customer journey allows for continuous collection and analysis of customer feedback. 

Thanks to it, it may be faster to identify dissatisfied customers and understand the root causes of their dissatisfaction. 

Seek feedback through surveys, open-ended questions, and direct communication to gather insights necessary for improving products, services, and overall customer experience.

05 Segmenting customers based on experience

Customer segmentation based on their experiences and feedback can help identify detractors even better. 

Create such groups: satisfied, unsatisfied, and neutral, businesses can tailor their follow-up strategies. 

For detractors, reaching out in a personal way can solve particular problems. The company shows that it wants to fix issues and make customers happier.

06 Tracking customer journey touchpoints

Analyzing various touchpoints along the customer journey provides insights into where customers might become detractors. 

Identify stages with high drop-off rates or low satisfaction scores to pinpoint areas for improvement. 

A detailed analysis like this may help businesses understand at which point customers are most likely to turn into detractors.

07 Utilizing advanced analytics and AI

Embedded analytics and AI tools can sift through large volumes of data to identify patterns and signals that indicate a customer is a detractor. 

The technologies can analyze customer behavior, purchase history, and interaction data to predict dissatisfaction before it’s explicitly expressed.

It allows businesses to address concerns and improve customer satisfaction proactively.

08 Conducting follow-up interviews

For customers identified as detractors through low NPS scores or negative feedback, conducting follow-up interviews can provide deeper insights into their experiences. 

The conversations can uncover specific pain points and suggestions for tweaks that may not be captured through surveys alone. 

Taking direct contact with detractors not only helps understand them better, but also shows customers that the company values their feedback.

How to turn detractors into promoters?

Turning detractors into promoters is a crucial strategy for any business looking to boost customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

Promoters tend to give higher scores in the business world, while detractors will share their bad word and give low score in NPS results. 

But, you can take a few steps to stop that.

#1 Immediate and personalized follow-up

Quickly following up with detractors after receiving their feedback may change the game. 

Personalized communication shows that you value their input and are committed to resolving their issues. 

For instance, if a customer mentions a specific problem in an NPS survey, reach out directly to understand more and offer a solution. 

It can turn a negative experience into a positive one, potentially converting detractors into promoters.

#2 Identify and address pain points

Understand and resolve the specific pain points that detractors mention. It might involve analyzing feedback from NPS surveys to identify common issues. 

Then, take concrete steps to handle these problems. 

Make visible changes based on customer feedback, improving product features, customer service, or the checkout process. 

#3 Leverage negative feedback for improvement

Negative feedback is often more valuable than positive feedback because it highlights areas for improvement. 

Treat detractors’ feedback as a valuable resource as well. 

Companies then can make strategic changes to their products, services, or customer support processes. 

This approach not only helps in turning detractors into promoters but also prevents future customers from having similar negative experiences.

📚 Read: 6 Great Customer Feedback Examples.

#4 Offer compensation or incentives

Sometimes, offering compensation or incentives can help turn detractors into promoters. 

Discounts, freebies, or upgrades – you name it. However, these offers must come after a genuine attempt to resolve the underlying issue. 

This gesture shows you are willing to go the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction.

#5 Implement a closed feedback loop

A closed feedback loop ensures that every piece of feedback received from detractors is followed up on, and the customer is informed about the steps you take to address their concerns. 

It helps resolve individual issues and also demonstrates a company’s commitment to continuous improvement. 

In such a case, detractors may reassess their perception and potentially become promoters.

#6 Enhance training for customer-facing teams

Equipping your team with the skills to handle complaints effectively and empathetically may ensure that disgruntled customers feel heard and valued. 

Maybe it’s time to invest in some workshops. There are many options on the market – online, in-person, hybrid, and self-paced learning modules. 

#7 Create opportunities for detractors to re-engage

Give detractors a chance to re-engage with your brand. Let them shift their perceptions. 

For example, invite them to test a new feature or participate in a beta program. 

Such initiatives not only show that you value their input but also give them a firsthand look at how their feedback is driving positive changes within the company.

#8 Measure and share improvements

Analyzing the impact of the changes made in response to detractors’ feedback and sharing the improvements can reinforce the value of customer input. 

Sharing stories about how customer suggestions have made real changes, whether on a blog, in emails, or on social media, can make detractors think again and help create a better image of the company.

Customers' feedback

Source: Designs.ai

Key takeaways

  • Early identification of detractors through NPS surveys and customer feedback is essential for boosting customer satisfaction.
  • Personalized follow-up with detractors can turn a negative experience into a positive outcome.
  • Directly addressing the pain points detractors mention is crucial for converting them into promoters.
  • Valuable insights for improvement often come from the negative feedback provided by detractors e.g., via an open ended question. Use SurveyLab for it.
  • Compensation or incentives can aid in turning detractors into promoters, especially when offered after resolving the underlying issue.
  • A closed feedback loop demonstrates a commitment to resolving the concerns of detractors and improving business practices.
  • Enhanced training for customer-facing teams can significantly improve the experience of detractors.
  • Opportunities for detractors to re-engage with your brand can shift their perceptions positively.
  • Sharing the improvements made in response to the feedback from detractors underscores the importance of their input.
  • Understanding the three categories of detractors helps tailor specific strategies for converting them into promoters.


Transforming detractors into promoters takes time and effort, but it’s doable. 

Focus on personalized engagement, address specific concerns, and utilize feedback for continuous improvement. Manage the feedback from detractors to boost their customer experience. With all our golden tips, turning them into loyal supporters may actually happen.

Each detractor presents a chance to refine your offerings and elevate your brand. It’s now your turn to apply these insights and witness the transformation in your customer base. 

For easy feedback management, use SurveyLab. You can analyze, collect, and manage feedback in one place. It’s user-friendly, suits every budget, and its customer support team is always there for help. Sign up today.

FAQ on detractors

Check out the answers if you have some doubts.

What is an NPS detractor?

An NPS detractor is a customer who rates their likelihood to recommend your business as between 0 and 6 on a Net Promoter Score survey, indicating dissatisfaction.

Why should businesses identify detractors?

Finding detractors helps improve customer satisfaction, reduce churn, and can turn unhappy customers into supporters.

How can businesses change detractors into promoters?

Businesses can follow up quickly, solve specific issues, offer compensation, and use feedback to make continuous improvements.

What methods help find detractors?

Use NPS surveys to see who rates your service low. Check feedback across all channels like social media and customer support to spot unhappy customers.

How do quick responses to detractors help?

Fast follow-up shows you care about their feedback and can quickly turn bad experiences into good ones, possibly making detractors happy supporters.

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