The Search for Dissatisfied Customers

Dealing with unhappy — and sometimes angry – customers is likely in any B2C business, however the way in which a company responds to an issue at hand is what can set it apart from the competition.

I recently read an article on called “Guidelines for Dealing with Customer Complaints” which included some great tips for dealing with dissatisfied customers – including

1.Stay calm!
2.Apologize sincerely
3.Listen to the customer
4.Document the complaint
5.Present a solution
6.Consider the company’s policies
7.Be efficient, take action immediately

I realized that though these rules were meant for retail and phone, these rules apply even more so online!

Now, the question becomes “How do you know if you have dissatisfied customers in cyber space?”

Just because a customer is not at your store front, calling your toll-free customer service number or commenting directly on your Facebook Page does not mean they don’t exist or should be addressed differently than other customers that may be upset over a situation.

Negative comments about your brand are extremely detrimental and become worse if not dealt with immediately. But how are you supposed to respond when you don’t even know the conversation is happening somewhere on the Internet?

Ideally, every business should be listening across all social media channels, niche trade sites and blogs, and on opinion sites to what is being posted – positive or negative – about their brand. And it certainly does not matter how large or small your company is.

How do you go about it? Well, there is software that can listen for you and alert you to any mentions of your brand across the entire Internet. Google Alerts, for example, does a fairly good job of that at no cost.

Once you realize what is being said, you’ll need to address negative issues immediately – with a non-confrontational response that will defuse the situation.

The digital landscape has clearly changed the way we do business and deal with dissatisfied customers, but in the scheme of things it’s about accountability. So, be proactive, seek out complaints (as much as you seek to have positive commentary about your business), then implement a detailed strategy to provide resolution to dissatisfied customers, while thanking satisfied customers for their positive comments. Prospective clients do pay attention to how a company listens to, engages with and provides resolution if a miscommunication or error arises.

There will always be a less-than-satisfied customer. And with social media and user-generated content, those customers are typically pretty vocal and very visible. But if your business handles the situation with tact, your less-than-satisfied customer could just turn into your next brand enthusiast. Are you listening?