What’s a Detractor and How to Stop Them from Churning

Whats a detractor and how do you identify them among your customers? In this blog post, we'll explore how you can stop a detractor from churning.

If you’re a business owner, chances are you’ve had to deal with unhappy customers at some point. It’s inevitable – no matter how great your product or service is, there will always be someone who isn’t satisfied. But what do you do when that person becomes a detractor? Whats a detractor exactly?

A detractor is defined as “a person who speaks critically of or opposes something.” In other words, they’re not just unhappy with your product or service; they’re actively spreading negative word-of-mouth about it. And if left unchecked, a single detractor can cause serious damage to your business.

So how much time do you have to stop detractors from churning? Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer. It depends on the situation and the individual involved. However, research has shown that it takes an average of 12 positive experiences to make up for one negative experience. So if you want to keep your customer base happy and prevent churning, it’s important to act quickly and efficiently whenever a problem arises.

Whats a Detractor?

Whats a detractor in terms of customer satisfaction? A detractor is somebody who actively discourages other people from liking or supporting something.

In the context of business, a detractor is an unhappy customer who will not hesitate to tell others about their negative experiences with your company.

Detractors can be very harmful to a business, as they can dissuade potential customers from using the company’s products or services.

Detractors are unhappy with your brand, product, or service. They find fault with everything you say or do and are quick to criticize.

Detractors will score you 0-6 on the Net Promoter Score scale.

Disgruntled customers are a taboo subject in the business community – no one likes talking about or dealing with unhappy clients.

But, those customers are crucial for business growth and this quote from a Forbes article should sum it up:

“The consumer is the brand.” – Seth Godin.

Most unsatisfied customers who had a bad experience with a service or product will never use that company again, or worse, tell their friends about their bad experience with the company.

That’s one reason why you shouldn’t just dismiss your detractors, but there’s also another.

Although it may seem counterintuitive, customers who voice their complaints are allowing you to improve your service.

How to Identify Detractors

Customer satisfaction surveys are a great way of identifying your detractors. The two most popular ones are CSAT and NPS.

To better understand the differences between these approaches, consider the following example:

Let’s say that your business is a pool of customers who all need your bucket.

The water flowing out the faucet represents the new customers you acquire, while the holes represent any experience issues that may cause them to leave you.

The rate at which water flows through your faucets is how fast your company grows, while the water that leaks through the holes is how many potential customers you let slip through your fingers.

Your ultimate goal is to reduce the rate at which you lose customers and increase the number of new accounts you open so that you can maximize your number of clients.

The CSAT survey lets you gauge how many holes you have in your leaky sales funnel, and what you can do to fix them.

It’s important to identify customers who are unhappy with your service. You can do this by asking your customers to grade their most recent experience with your company.

Net Promoter Score, or NPS, is a measurement that tells you how willing your customer base is to promote your brand.

On a scale of 0-10, how satisfied are you with [Company]? If your answer is less than 6, you are considered a detractor.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a metric that assesses the potential growth of a company, gives open-ended feedback on what activities customers like and dislike, and tracks how satisfied customers are with your business.

The “fill the gaps” approach of CSAT doesn’t provide much insight into your growth potential.

NPS can help you identify potential problems that you were unaware of. It takes a broad view of the customer experience, rather than focusing on a single interaction.

While customer success surveys are usually sent to active, engaged customers, Net Promoter Score (NPS) Surveys are sent to a broader audience, including customers who are about to leave, or new customers who haven’t had a chance to use the product yet.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a far better indicator of customer satisfaction than Customer Satisfaction (CSAT). This is because you are at a greater risk of losing unsatisfied and disengaged users than satisfied and engaged ones.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a customer satisfaction survey that measures how likely your customers are to recommend your business to others. By measuring your net promoter score, you can gain valuable insight into how satisfied your customer base is and which areas need improvement.

That said, CSAT surveys can still provide plenty of valuable insights.

CSAT surveys provide valuable feedback that can help identify problems and improve customer experiences.

These surveys are great at pinpointing issues, and can also be used in conjunction with an NPS score to prioritize them.

Can You Stop a Detractor from Churning?

The answer to this depends largely on how well you respond to customers, as well as how well you’re able to help them with their issues and improve their experience.

There is no “set” time that you should use to determine how much time you have until a detractor leaves.

Most detractors fit into one of these stages:

  • The customer has already decided to cancel
  • The customer is frustrated and looking for alternatives but has not canceled yet
  • The customer is disappointed with certain features of your product but thinks your product still has potential for improvement
  • The customer is not actively looking for an alternative but wants to voice their complaints and criticism.

Not all customers who dislike your product will fit into these three categories, but you can use feedback from them to create segments.

Customers in the first category who have left you for a competitor or decided they no longer want your services will often leave the quickest.

Keeping these clients can be a major challenge — one that most businesses just don’t have the time or resources to take on. Once a client has decided to cancel, they’ve probably already left.

Customers that fit into the other three categories aren’t as quick to cancel your service. This will give you more time to try to change their minds.


In any type of business, it’s important to know whats a detractor and how you can prevent them from churning. By taking quick and efficient action whenever there’s a problem, you can keep your customer base happy and reduce the risk of churning.


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