Managing Unhappy Clients In The Digital Space

Charles Doyle | June 29, 2014

Dealing with unhappy clients online is a reality of digital marketing that you and your business should always be prepared for. No matter how efficient your customer relations, it’s essential to know how to respond to contentious issues in a productive, helpful fashion befitting your company’s image. With things like Facebook, Twitter and Google Reviews making it easier than ever for potential customers to see how you deal with existing ones, we present the following tips to help you get through those tough situations:

Determine Legitimacy


Determining the legitimacy of the complaint being directed at you is important to proceeding in asituation involving an upset customer. With anonymous commenters, trolling and fake reviews becoming more and more prevalent online, you must use your best judgment to figure out whether the user in question has a genuine reason to complain or is simply trying to stir things up. Always be polite and patient, even if the user becomes rude: So long as you’re offering calm, reasoned responses to the complaints, onlookers and other customers will be able to see that you’re doing everything you can to alleviate the situation. If a particularly pointed complaint is directed to your business in a public forum (eg. your Facebook wall), it’s best to reach out to the user privately and give them the name of someone they can speak to directly: As personal as social media is, nothing beats one-on-one dialogue with a real person.

Respond Quickly

In a scenario where your business makes a mistake and the upset customer deserves some form of vindication or compensation, mediums like social media make it easy to respond to the wronged party swiftly. Letting a customer know that you’re conscious of your error and are working to fix it offers peace of mind, even in situations where you can’t right the situation immediately. If the dialogue happens to take place in a comments thread (eg. on a Facebook post or someone’s Twitter feed), other users witnessing the conversation can “Like” or “Favorite” your business’s individual responses to indicate that they agree with your approach, too.

Never Lose Your Cool

While this is a fundamental rule of customer service in general, it’s doubly important for online. Internet users love a good flame war, and if you ever respond to someone in an irate manner, you lose the advantage/responsibility of professionalism that comes with speaking under your business’s name. Whether you’re in the right or not, using condescending or inciteful language in any form is likely to make onlookers side with the person making the complaint, so it’s just not worth it.

Photo Credit: The Nunez’s Group (Flickr)

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