Keep Calm and Diffuse

Respond promptly and publicly thank the customer for their feedback. Assure them you're working on a resolution and ask what would be the best way for you to get in touch with them.

Take the Complaint Offline

Once you've responded publicly, take the complaint offline. Deal with the customer one to one or designate a member of staff who will be that person’s point of contact until the issue is resolved.

De-escalate and Placate

Don't be bloody minded, even if you're in the right. Your reputation is more important than being "right".

Even if they're in the wrong, the best outcome for you is that they leave the interaction feeling that they have been listened to and had problems resolved to their satisfaction.

A negative and defensive response can also escalate the customer’s dissatisfaction.

For a positive outcome you must curb their anger by responding positively. Reassure the complainer that you will work with them to reach a solution they will be happy with. Genuinely work toward this outcome.

Listen and Learn

The time and energy you have invested in dealing with a complaint will be wasted if you don’t learn from the experience. 

It could be that you need to clarify your product / service description, or make your terms clearer. 

If you have more than one customer service agent, it can be worth keeping a log of complaints / negative feedback so that you can spot any patterns.

The Aggressor Turns Ally

Act with integrity and you can turn the situation around and get the complainee on your side. 

While it won't happen every time, it's not unusual for the loudest complainers to become your biggest fans, particularly if you've managed to turn the situation around and make them happy.

If they feel they have been dealt with fairly, they even may agree to submit a testimonial to that effect.

Trolling and Spamming

Trolling / spamming is something that can happen to any business online. Sometimes competitors are responsible. They may do it to goad you into responding angrily and damaging your reputation. So how can you tell if this is a real complaint or a troll?

Characteristics of a Troll

  • A troll will try to evoke an emotional response, by starting arguments and posting comments which are inflammatory and designed to upset the calmest of people. In this situation stop and think, is this person making a sincere complaint or just trying to start an online row?
  • Trolls act unreasonably. Rather than rational and sticking to the point, they often inflate and are over dramatic, using words like always and never in sentences.
  • Trolls often can't be bothered to use correct spellings, punctuation and correct grammar and are more likely to use swear words and negative words to evoke a response.

Dealing with Trolling or Spamming

In the first instance, we advise you to deal with the complaint as you would a real customer. Listen, correct the mistake and explain why it was made. Real customers, in most cases, will feel satisfied and happy with the outcome. On the other hand If the person is a troll, their response will be goading and negative.

Think Before Responding

In this situation, proving your reputation is good to the larger community is key. Your wider audience will be judging you and your responses, so keep calm, keep to the point, act graciously and don’t let the attacks ruffle your feathers, in most cases if it’s clear you’re not up for a public argument trolls will just get bored and move on.

How To Respond

Simply ignoring trolling may not always work. In a some cases your loyal community may come to your rescue and fuel the troll’s insatiable appetite for arguing. We recommend that you respond to them with facts, keeping the conversation polite at all times.

When to Ban or Block User

In the majority of case most trolls are harmless attention seekers. However, complaints can escalate into threats, in this situation block or ban the user. If trolls have violated social media rules submit a report on the individual.

“That's a wrap!“

My name is Martin and I've been your host for this article.

I am by no means a strong writer, but I hope you found it of value.

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