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5 Tips for Dealing with Disgruntled Customers Online

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5 Tips for Dealing with Disgruntled Customers Online

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.

Curtis Harrison
Curtis Harrison
With many years experience in the real estate industry and simultaneously operating various businesses from pubs and clubs to accomodation, Curtis is what you call a real socialite. Having started out using social media for his own pursuits, Curtis found himself consulting with others on the benefits of social media and how to utilise social sites. As the requests became more frequent he eventually decided to start a business helping people with social media and Real Social was born. As an individual Curtis prides himself on being a man who can make things happen.
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Showing 3 comments

  • Mark

    Curtis is the man

  • ben

    Curtis, how do companies guard against rival business making negative comments? Perfect example would be trip advisor where people could fake reviews in order to make their own business/restaurant look like the pick of the litter. Also, do you think business owners have a right to be upset about negative reviews when they feel their product/service doesn’t reflect the norm?

    • Curtis Harrison

      Hi Ben,

      Unfortunately you can’t stop people making bad comments about your business. You always want true honest and valid comments as this is how you learn and grow your business.

      I would recommend never deleting bad comments about your business unless they are of an attacking nature or containing profanity (you should always have this set out in a a posting policy).

      As for rival businesses…well if there is one bad comment to every 99 good ones, then it’s like water off a ducks back. So it is better to put your time and effort into encouraging those who like your business to tell everyone on your social sites rather than stressing about the one or two bad comments.

      As for trip advisor if something looks fishy it often is. Just remember one or two comments means we are only human and we can’t keep everyone happy all of the time. Lots of bad comments means we are just hopeless and we need to change how we do business completely.

      Thanks for your question Ben

      Real Socal

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