When you get a customer complaint, does the blood drain from your face and your heart beat in your ears? I’ll be honest, it used to for me. I want so much to please my customers that it caused me severe anxiety to get a complaint. But, now I look at complaints differently. Sure, I messed up or things didn’t go smoothly, but it’s an opportunity to fix it for them and be a hero, and an opportunity to fix it for the next client before it becomes an issue. That’s a win-win as far as I’m concerned.
Let’s look at some ways to turn complaints into opportunities:
Public Complaints on Social Media
The worst complaints happen out in public on social media. It’s tempting to respond with an excuse or be defensive. This is especially true if their complaint seems erroneous or harsh. But think about it. On social media, you have many eyes on your reaction.
The person is communicating, so that means you have a chance to fix it. Even if you don’t fix it, they may still feel better after you help them. Plus, people are watching – those people may be your ideal customer and like what they see in your response.
Always resolve the issue by either refunding money, offering a replacement, or taking the hit – especially in public. There is no good to come from standing your ground in these instances and keeping the money. The only exception is a physical product and an ironclad reason, but even then, you’re risking it. Set up an alert so you see all brand mentions so you can deal with them right away.
Private Product or Service Complaints
When your customer complains privately, you should thank your lucky stars and them. The fact that it’s private also means they’re willing to work something out. Read their complaint carefully, they likely told you what solution would be satisfactory to them in the message.
The truth is, with online business, returning money is much easier than with offline businesses and probably more important due to the fact they can easily go badmouth you all over the place. If you give the money back right away – if there is no other solution – they’ll probably walk away without any more problems.
But, more than that, look at the complaint without judgment to figure out if you can improve the product in some way. Were they confused about how to use it? Did they understand what they were buying? You can tell them you’re going to give them their money back, but you’d love to improve – would they be willing to fill out a survey? If they’re amenable, that’s a great way to fix the product for future buyers (if what they say is reasonable).
Remember that your goal is to turn the experience into a good customer experience. Do what you can to keep them by letting them keep the product free, offering more instruction, giving them a one-on-one tutorial, or whatever you can do to help. Then, to intercept other problems, do it again as a webinar or live event.
There you have it! Complaint turned into multiple opportunities.
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