5 Tips for Dealing with Disgruntled Customers Online
It’s happened to most companies that are online, that day you open your Facebook page or blog and see a comment ripping your business to shreds over some issue. How do you respond? Should you respond? Those questions and more are answered below, and I recommend that you take them to heart.
1. Do It Now
Whether fairly or not, in the social media age companies are often judged partially on how fast they respond to complaints. If you let a week or even a few days go by without acknowledging the complaint, it will only get worse.
Respond to online complaints right away. You should really have someone monitoring your accounts throughout the day to keep tabs on comments. If they work within the company, they can also be responsible for responses. If you use a social media management company, they can alert you for needed responses.
2. Online or Offline?
Before responding, you need to make some judgment calls on how to respond based on the comment. If the comment is more towards the innocuous, “help me!” issues, definitely respond within the same context so that others with a similar issue can benefit from the response.
If they are just slamming your business, you have to decide how bad it is. If they are being reasonable in their problem, even if they are expressing it poorly, make every attempt to help them offline. It’s best if you can get them on the phone, because people will say a lot online without having to worry about real confrontation, but if you actually speak to them they will usually soften immensely. If the phone isn’t an option, go with email.
3. Censoring Your Posts
Should you block or remove unwanted posts from your page or blog? Yes. And no. Actually, you should leave everything possible up to broadcast transparency on your part, but sometimes people will go over the line. You have to maintain the integrity of your page or site as well, so if the posts are getting vulgar or otherwise out of hand, you should remove them for the betterment of the other visitors.
4. Kill Them With Kindness
When you engage a disgruntled customer, be as kind and understanding as is possible. Before you respond, take a break and a breath and decide ahead of time that you will restrain your words and stay objective and compassionate. The goal isn’t to win an argument, it’s to keep a customer and make them happy.
5. Cut The Strings
One of the biggest myths in business is that your customer base should be unlimited and include everyone. The truth is, there are people out there that you don’t want as your customers. They’re the ones who repeatedly cause trouble and demand freebies and credits. If you give in to them once, your problem gets multiplied as they tell others how to game you by complaining.
These customers should be fired. You don’t want them in the long run, because the cost of satisfying them will outweigh the income from having them as a customer. Repeat problems and those who remain unreasonable after a reasonable conversation should be kindly waved goodbye to as they make their way to a new company. Let them go, breathe a sigh of relief, and move forward.