For those who aspire to the success of their business, managing the reproaches of a detractor – dissatisfied customer – often represents a major challenge. Whether it is expressed through a social network or a tool used to assess customer satisfaction, a complaint always tarnishes the company’s reputation, temporarily or in the long term. Especially if it is not treated promptly. However, this kind of situation is part of reality and on the other hand, when the file is handled with prudence, it invariably serves as a springboard.

Common sense and hindsight

First of all, it is essential to be aware of the situation while exercising judgment. Does the problem really exist? Has it been amplified? Are these allegations free or expressed by a competitor? In this case, it would be wise to know the rules of the site on which the comments were made and, if possible, to see to block the author. Discreetly, simply, no waste of time.

In the event that the criticisms seem well-founded, you must be able to keep a cool head and not take the opinion disclosed lightly. The first step is to communicate in writing with the client. In public, you can reassure him, mention that you have read his comment, that it matters to you and that you will rectify the situation once you have investigated this matter. It is not essential to recognize that you are wrong; just show him that his disappointment is distressing you, which must be the case. Before diving into the source of the problem, avoid promising impossible things and if you have to delegate the matter, make sure that the client will negotiate with as few stakeholders as possible.

Investigation and conversation

Then internally, consult your colleagues, ask questions, investigate. It is not a question of who is wrong, but of targeting the trigger to remedy the situation. During this investigation, you will identify precious details that will improve your long-term performance. For the following steps, ask a partner to support you in this project. This person can serve as both a witness and a support.

Ideally, your next step will include an oral interview with the customer. A painful but necessary step, because writing leaves a lot of room for interpretation, which risks adding fuel to the fire. Without interrupting him, listen to your interlocutor, who enjoys his moment of expression. Stay calm but awake. Focus on solving the problem, on customer satisfaction. Remember that this is not a showdown, but a diplomatic engagement.

Happy ending or dead end

At the end of the day, you may not be able to fulfill the claimant’s request – for example honoring an expired warranty – but make sure you offer something that will meet their requirements, such as a preferential rate on their next subscription or a discount on the purchase of one of your products. If you find common ground, later follow up on satisfaction to demonstrate your thoroughness and professionalism.

Be aware that you can also reach a dead end. If necessary, remain empathetic to the cause of the complainant by expressing your point of view, your philosophy in all transparency. Then know when to end the argument. In the worst case scenario, letting a legal third party resolve the misunderstanding may be more constructive for your business than a long-standing smear campaign.

Learn a lesson

In conclusion, in order to minimize the frequency of these situations, it is good to go to the forefront. Why not keep a record of these complaints that describes their nature and how you handled them? Thus, everyone in the box will use the same procedure in the resolution of future cases, hoping that their number will decrease over time. Also, using social networks, launch opinion forums on satisfaction. In addition to demonstrating that your business is important to you, you will integrate your customers by involving them. You will kill two birds with one stone: not only will your clientele feel important and valued, but you will go ahead of any thorny situation.

Above all, remember that a disgruntled customer drives us to redefine our limits and teaches us something concrete. Settling a legitimate file of discontent is a practical exercise that is worth its weight in gold for the influence of the company.

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