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Joakim Ditlev

5 things you need to know when dealing with online customer complaints

By on Friday, February 24th, 2012 in Online reputation management

Taking the first step and talking to customers on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or even Trustpilot is not easy. Your company may not have a strong tradition of engaging in dialogue with the public, and there’s always the chance that it could backfire, leading to massive online customer complaints. Fortunately, it’s not as scary as you may think. You can relax; most customers will appreciate your open approach – especially if you take advantage of these 5 tips for dealing with online customer complaints.

#1 Monitor company and brand mentions on social media

Before you can engage in dialogues you’ll need to find out what’s being said about you. Besides getting email alerts when you receive reviews on Trustpilot, there’s a bunch of free services available that you can use to monitor company and brand mentions. Google Alerts is probably the most well-known service: Simply add an alert for the names you want to monitor. Other services will pick up brand mentions faster than Google, but it works well as a starting point.

#2 In case of online customer complaints, act quickly

Customer complaint

Nobody is perfect and eventually you will find customers talking badly about you online. So what’s your call? Will you let it go and hope nobody else sees it, or do you enter the ringside and take some hits? Frankly, it’s hard to hide on the web, so closing your eyes and not paying attention can be really risky.

In most cases the customer’s complaint is a sign of an immediate frustration: A frustrated customer hopes to get heard but doesn’t expect it. So a well-timed response to a complaint makes a good impression, while showing other potential customers that you care.

#3 Acknowledge the customer’s problem

Corporate apologies is a trending business phenomenon. News Corp, B.P. and other corporations that have recently found themselves in dire straits all apologized publicly after they realized how much damage they had done.

But on the internet, sorry just doesn’t cut it. You need to acknowledge the problem and act on it. The customer has had a bad experience and it’s your job to make it better. Being proactive and putting actions behind your words when people complain about you on social networks like Trustpilot can neutralize upset customers and turn neutral customers into ambassadors.

#4 Don’t feed the troll

Let’s face it: Some people just love to moan about everything. And a person who is persistently moaning about your company can be hard to get rid of. When talking to customers online you should be aware of potential moaners – or trolls as they are often referred to online. You may have trolls among your customer base, and you’ll find yourself wasting hours of time and good reputation if a troll starts talking bad about you.

That’s why you don’t want to argue online: You can explain facts or describe why the procedure usually works, as long as you tell the truth and don’t leave an opening for further discussions. Just be concise!

#5 Follow up on the complaint and show that your company cares

Even though many companies do great customer service they often miss out on a great opportunity: If you can go a little further than just solving a problem, your customer will think: “Wow, I didn’t expect that!” It can be as simple as sending a gift voucher or two bottles of wine as a compensation for their troubles. The point is that you show that you care by driving the complaint all the way home. Ultimately, that’s what builds trust and will get people to start talking about you in a positive way.

Are we missing anything? Feel free to share your thoughts and comments on how to deal with customer complaints

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Speak your mind!

  1. Scanked by clear4cash says:

    I did not get any money for over 123 DVDs from clear4cash, and when I tried to enter my order number, as stated to rate the company on the home page, it simply rejected the order number, and would not allow a comment. This page Trust Pilot is one closed unit that works in connection with companies like Clear4cash to rip people off! Try and enter my order numver Z-16943 and see for yourself! I can not even complain!

  2. literati5 says:

    At last someone else who has had a disgusting experience with Clear4cash! This so called, Trust Pilot page is a scam to rob people. This post will not arrive for public viewing, as everything is screened, but the company will be taken down in a different way, and I can not wait!

  3. Thomas Rode says:

    Saw your comment on http://atcore.dk/blog/sadan-undgar-du-negativ-omtale-pa-sociale-medier/ (in Danish), and want to acknowledge your good advices.

    Acting on these advices help build customer relationships, and I personally believe that this is some of the best money and time spend for any business – wether it’s online of offline.

  4. Royal Patchcor says:

    This is really exciting! I don’t think you’ve considered the human factor, but I still think you make a lot of sense.

  5. Great post .How do you engage your clients with social media? I think that this is very important part of the reputation management strategy today. Any tips on that?

  6. Mark says:

    Giving bottles of wine or vouchers every time something goes wrong would put smaller companies out of business especially on small value orders. Customers do not appreciate what business sellers do even if the business goes that extra mile. We have been selling for about two years now online and customers lie online, make exegarrated claims and their whole world has fallen down over an order for £1.50. The emails we receive from customers is shocking such as if you don’t sent a replacement we will publish it all over then Internet. Unfortunately we have many customers who are dishonest claiming they have not received their order. The clue is in the way they make these claims their story does not make sense I guess this is why companies have started recording telephone calls. We believe Internet crime is on the increase. What we find odd I have never had a telephone bill gone missing, or bank statement, or credit card statement so how can sending same items in the same envelopes go missing. We also find customers who do not read the description of the product correctly then make a complaint that the product is not as described. We have got to a point now that we believe the truthful customers are few and far between. During the Christmas period it is worse. We are working closing with our couriers now to tacking fraudulent claims especially when the same post code and address appear to have missing items. We sell online on various websites.

  7. NACCACHE says:

    Bonjour,

    Je suis victime d’un site frauduleux de vente de meubles en ligne. Ce site est Designinfurn. Je ne suis pas la seule victime.
    J’ai acheté des chaises en janvier 2013 qui ne m’ont jamais été livrées. J’ai demandé un remboursement par lettre recommandée avec AR au début du mois d’aôut et le service client vient de me contacter par téléphone pour me dire qu’ils ne savait pas quand aura lieu ce remboursement.
    Que peut-on faire pour faire pression sur ces commerçants malhonnêtes?
    Je vous remercie par avance.

    Bien à Vous

    Sabine Naccache

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