You stopped off at Target to pick up a gallon of milk and some mac and cheese for dinner (per your significant other’s request). You wait in a line normally reserved for the BMV. As you glance around and work to remain patient, you notice that at the front of the line is a woman who is apparently purchasing enough pillows to fill every couch in her house.
The young cashier is ringing up each pillow and throwing them on the conveyor where they are rapidly piling up and threatening to fall onto the floor. Then you hear the dreaded four words that you hate to hear when in a long line: “I have a coupon.”
You see the look of fear on the cashier’s face as she reads the coupon and realizes that the coupon can only be used on one pillow. As she breaks this news to the woman, you can feel the tension. Not only is the cashier feeling extremely uncomfortable, but everyone in line and even everyone in ear shot are experiencing this same feeling.
It is clear that the cashier is not at fault and that the woman is in the wrong. However, the way she responds to this woman will determine not only whether that woman returns to this store but also, what everyone else in the surrounding area think of the business. You think “Choose your words carefully little girl” and wait to see what is going to happen…
This is what I picture whenever I am managing someone’s social media and see an angry rant from someone on their Facebook page. However, there are a few common sense tips that can help you shine like a pro in this situation.
Read on for 4 quick tips to help you handle online complaints in a professional manner and even convert those angry customers into advocates for your business.
TAKING IT OFFLINE: WHY YOUR DEALERSHIP CAN’T LIVE ON DIGITAL ALONE
Don’t Take It Personally
Sometimes it is hard to keep from getting upset yourself when you are handling a customer complaint online. They can often seem unfair or off base, but the important thing is to remember that they aren’t mad at you, they are mad at the business or situation so don’t take it personally.
Never Argue With the Customer
As much as you may want to defend yourself, remember that you need to remain professional when taking care of your customer. Instead of trying to prove that you were right, just try to get to the bottom of their issue.
Think of it from your own perspective. If you are upset or mad about something do you feel better the more time that passes without a response or worse? Of course, the quicker the response the more valued the customer will feel. So, don’t take your time, make sure to reach out to them as quickly as possible.
Most Importantly, Switch the Medium and Move it Offline
As much as you may want to handle a customer online to show that you are helping them, doing so is viewed as unprofessional and can lead to additional attacks from the upset customer. Move the conversation offline. You should try to get (if you don’t already have) the customer’s contact info. Be proactive and reach out to them yourself as quickly as possible. Again, it is important to remember that they are a person, just like you. Treat them how you would want to be treated and remember that the goal is to keep them offline until they have been taken care of. At that point, once they are satisfied, you can ask them to please revise or add a comment to their original post so that the rest of your customers can see that the issue was resolved in a satisfactory method.
Rather than being the young cashier who is caught like a deer in headlights, be prepared for these upset responses. Keep these few easy tips in mind the next time you have the screaming pillow woman as a customer of yours. Be cool, be professional, respond quickly without arguing and move it offline. Following these few steps will help you look like a pro online and off. If you have any techniques that you use and want to share, post them below. Also, if you have some stories of upset customers and how you helped resolve their issue, post those too! We love to chat here at PERQ so hit us up.