If we have been working really hard with our new product (or service) and honing in our site, social media, landing pages angry consumers can make us feel like all our hard work in creating something worthwhile has somehow failed. Dealing with ‘pissed’ consumers when can be really disheartening.
But there is a positive flipside to the complaints; the angry consumer drives us to be better, to change our product/service/brand to avoid a repeat of the situation and in doing so become better supplier/manufacturer. It can be what motivates us to develop our product to new levels.
I know it is a little hard to imagine being glad when we get a complaint. It can be disheartening to see those negative comments, but if everyone wrote to you and told you how much they love your products, how could you improve?
As soon as you get over the initial rejection (let’s face it we do need to be thick-skinned to be in business online) then angry consumers give you a great chance to change and improve.
They also give you an opportunity to interact and solve the consumer’s problem. Angry consumers are ‘active’ consumers, and if you can just turn their experience around into a positive one, then you can make the problem (and how you solved it) work to your advantage.
Here’s some advice on how to deal with angry consumers to turn the situation around.
Solve the Problem
The majority of angry consumers just want their needs met. They are mad because your product didn’t do what they thought it would do when they bought it.
It doesn’t matter if they are right or wrong, what matters is that you fix the problem. This usually means either swap the product for one they DO need (this is the best scenario obviously), or provide them with a full refund. Refunds are last stop to meeting a customer’s needs, but it shows that your business is built on integrity.
If a customer asks for a refund on a digital product, always provide it. The digital product can’t be given back, but the fact is the product didn’t fill the customer’s needs as promised, so he or she shouldn’t have to pay for it.
However, try to supply an extra product or a replacement first. Failing that, a refund it is.
Interact With The Customer To Find Out What Went Wrong
The next step is to find out why the product or service didn’t meet the customer’s expectations. The customer generally is okay once they have the refund, but it’s been a time consuming exercise for them. They feel a lot better when they know that you want to validate their concerns and try to use them to improve your product.
Although you might not be able to immediately find a solution to their problem, hearing them out helps you improve, and makes them happier than merely a refund.
Hearing directly from a company makes an angry customer feel cared about, and they may buy other products from you in the future. If you ignore them, not only do you lose out on the valuable feedback, but they usually stay angry.
Make Peace with Kid Gloves and Bonuses
It is important to use kid gloves and offer bonuses.
Let’s use an example of an AirBNB rental. Most people are pretty happy with it. Sometimes customers are just plain miserable. Maybe something goes wrong with check-in communication and they’re locked out for a short time, or the particular shade of red on the cushions is just not them, whatever the case when it comes to people’s holidays, they get really angry.
Simply offer them a discount, and a free stay if they come back. The bonuses always help defuse people’s anger. Spend some time analyzing the problem and communicating with the person who was put out, explaining to them how her situation had helped you streamline the process to ensure it never happens again.
It creates brand loyalty, the customer sees that owners are human and sometimes make mistakes, but also they will be impressed by the time and effort you put into improving the system, and will be happy to have helped do that. Review? Excellent.
Improve Your Product or Service
Take every aspect of the valuable feedback that your angry consumers give you and use it to improve your products. Remember that angry customers are far better than quiet customers who feel the same but haven’t spoken up. Quiet customers simply stop using your products. Angry consumers at least give you something to work with.
Don’t be tempted to coral angry customers opinions as just a small percentage to be dealt with and then ignored. It could be that they are actually pointing out a major flaw in your product and one that will mean fewer sales. Solving THEIR problems may actually help you to sell more
Use the Example Don’t Hide It
If you’ve improved your business in any way because of a complaint, share the information with others. This will help them realize that you care about quality and improving service. It may even prompt more positive feedback.
Keep remembering your angry consumer is an opportunity to improve.