July 30, 2012
Consumer Complaints 101
Customer complaints have always been demoralizing for your business.
Now that everything’s online, the damage could double up.
You can't ignore web criticism, as 80 percent of customers believe social networks are a major way to communicate with companies.
Facing negative online feedback? Keep your cool.
“You can’t win an argument with a customer. If you lose, you lose directly. If you win, you still lose – by losing the customer,” says Micah Solomon, author of High-Tech, Hi-Touch Customer Service. “But online, the rule is multiplied manifold because of all the additional customers you’ll lose if they catch sight of the argument.”
Avoid reacting in haste, he adds.
Sending a direct message including your contact details, on Twitter, TripAdvisor or similar forums, can stop it from becoming a public dispute. If you can’t reach someone directly (they don’t follow you on Twitter, for example), then send them a public message including your contact details.
“This dispute resolution approach is like an in-store situation where you take an irate customer aside, perhaps into your office, to privately discuss the matter, giving you both a chance to work together to arrive at a resolution,” adds Solomon.
Once resolved, it’s absolutely fine to ask them to retract their statement. Politely.
A negative online event can gather a lot of steam quickly, so try to deal with it immediately. Thirty percent of major U.S. retailers don’t respond to complaints on their social media, says this study.
Bonus PINK Link: Our Online Exclusive has more handy tips on how to dodge customer complaint disasters.
What was your best, or worst, response to a customer complaint?
By Ruchika Tulshyan
“It takes a disciplined person to listen to convictions
which are different from their own.”
*Supporting images from FreeDigitalPhotos.net, nattavut and imagerymajestic