Online Customer Complaints

Customers are invaluable to a business and it stands to reason that what they say about your company and the brand would either serve to spell success or doom your company to failure. Handling of these comments is vital and even more so customer complaints. Left unattended or unresolved, customer complaints prove to be excruciatingly damaging for a company. Irate customers tend to use the internet and social media to express their annoyance and these online customer complaints do have far-reaching negative results for a company’s business. Companies just cannot afford to ignore these comments especially when it is just a malicious attempt of a rival to defame you. People tend to believe what is written on these sites so it is imperative for companies to quash these online customer complaints. The better option would be deal with annoyed customers before go online. Bad comments and discussions that snowball in to an issue bigger than what it actually was can dent the company’s reputation and close the doors on repeat business.

For customers, it is important for them to know that the company cares about what they say and expect that they will be appeased for their business. They don’t want to feel that the relationship is just one of the many, but is a relationship that is special and thriving. This should be the aim and would lead to reduced customer complaints and in the event of a complaint, the approach must be to immediately end the conflict and give the customer what they want based on what’s doable and feasible for all. Online customer complaints have increased significantly owing to the surge in social media usage for business and also the ease of posting anything on the internet. These are now amongst the most authoritative and visible platforms where a single negative comment or complaint can inflict serious damage both in revenue and the company’s credibility. Reports suggest that online posting have more than doubled from 2011. Customers prefer ease and timeliness and so the safest bet would be to ask them upfront especially if their experiences have been far from pleasant in the recent times. If companies do not ask, the most convenient for customers would be online customer complaints.

Despite best efforts, companies may not always be able to prevent a lapse in customer service but they must be prepared at all times to quickly identify and resolve these issues before a minor lapse becomes an online customer complaint. However, many a time customers tend to go online rather than trying to resolve it with the company, catching the company unawares when they see the online customer complaint. All customers have different requirements and needs and it’s not always possible to manage these expectations. The idea situation however, would be to know about and resolve their problem way before they decide to write some damaging content. This would be the most ideal situation.

Companies must be proactive and remember that customer complaints are inevitable and provide customers with tools and options by which they can express their annoyance without going online. There are a number of tools for companies too, through the use of which they can reach out, identify and smoothen customer experiences such that there are no online customer complaints. Companies must at all costs prevent customers from thinking that the only way to vent or make themselves heard would be by online customer complaints. There is a number of software available that allow companies to gather feedback at every customer interaction and at each touch-point. This is irrespective of the nature of interaction. This feedback software sends user-friendly and short feedback forms to the customer immediately after the interaction. If your customer is dissatisfied, they would be able to tell you immediately and help your company to take corrective action immediately. Not only does this prevent minor issues from becoming too large, the customer can easily perceive your company’s commitment to high standards of customer service.

The shift required for companies is to focus on preventing online customer complaints rather than dealing with them. The shift is on being proactive customer service rather than a reactive one. Dealing with minor issues quickly and effectively can not only prevent online customer complaints but also significantly increase the trust levels in your current customer base. When they speak to others of the attention your company pays to customers, it paves the path for more customers and enhances the company’s reputation. Company’s must stop being afraid of hearing uncomplimentary comments from customers since this fear is what leads customers to believing that the company does not care and so online customer complaints seem to be the way to get back at this ‘disinterest’.

A proactive approach is the way to nip these potential disasters in the budding stage. Customers don’t want to complain and only want a resolution to their problem. Receiving such customer service would make them satisfied in the belief that your company will do what it takes to keep their interests uppermost. Customer loyalty is not easy to get, but these are some of the ways to have it and keep it.

So why is it so appealing to post online customer complaints? It is perhaps the ease of doing so – customers can upload a comment from anywhere and at any time. It is convenient, quick, no cost and yet a single comment can pack a punch and have a significant impact. It is the surest means to make companies make amends but companies that take too long to react to these online customer complaints are putting their reputation at serious risk. Amends made late may not be able to save or repair the damage done – they become ineffective to prevent long term damage.
Companies just have to invest in technology and software that will keep their doors wide open allowing customers to make known immediately what is bothering them and for companies to tackle these bothersome areas swiftly and effectively and without the issues going public.

– Your customer service agents must be trained and knowledgeable and provide a level of comfort where customers can know that if they do need to complain, their complaints will be dealt with effectively. The route to keeping customer complaints offline, is asking them with a focus of actively listening and swiftly acting on their comments and frustrations. Save your company the hassle of dealing with damage to reputation by online customer complaints by simply being attentive and seeking customer feedback. Remember never to ignore a complaint or a compliment. Both are feedback – must be acknowledged and acted upon.

– Proactively managing your customer feedback will veer your customers to post online comments that will be complimentary. Imagine the power of good comments for your company – increased revenue, enhanced reputation, more customers, happy employees and customer loyalty. Your customer service must goad them to go online for you and to post rave reviews and great experiences.

– Avoid assuming that a problem being reported is the same as another just because it ‘sounds’ the same. Each customer situation is different and even if it seems similar, there are bound to be certain issues that are not and if your company decides not to separate these, you could just be making it harder for your company to service the customer. Providing a quick yet not properly thought out solution is as detrimental as not providing one at all. Be quick, but do not assume. Understand the problem, repeat your understanding to the customer and only then provide a solution. Each customer must be handled individually in order to prevent complaints and to provide the best customer service possible.

A complaint is not a business deal nor is it a pleasant experience. Even for a customer it probably is an emotional and trying time and if your company does not make it easier, damage is inevitable. Online customer complaints mean that your customer was treated shoddily enough to take this route. They are not complaining just because they have nothing better to do or have a personal agenda against your company.

Online customer complaints just mean that your company did not give its customers the assurance that what matters to them will be taken care of by you. Do the right thing – make customers your focus. Avoid customer complaints from going online and damaging your reputation.

Learn about a new approach to better customer service!

Interactive Guides for Superior Customer Service

Create interactive decision trees for customer service management, cold call scripts or self-service. Improve sales performance metrics and customer delight across your call centers.

Interactive Decision Tree