5 steps to Dealing with Unhappy Customers for an Online Business

A large part of building a successful online business is satisfying your customers. A happy customer is likely to reuse your service as well as recommend it to other people. But what do you do when you encounter an individual who is not satisfied with the service they have received?

A customer who is not content will steer clear of you in the future and potentially harm your business by leaving negative feedback. In this article, 1st Formations look at how you, the owner of an online business, should handle unhappy customers in 5 simple steps. Let’s get started.

1. Make contact promptly

Whether a customer has emailed you or left a message on one of your social media accounts, you must respond to them as soon as possible with an initial response that:

  • acknowledges the customer’s complaint
  • apologies for any inconvenience caused
  • assures the customer you are investigating the matter and you will be in touch shortly to resolve it to their satisfaction

Sitting on a problem may be convenient for you, especially if you’re busy, but it will only frustrate your customer further. If the correspondence turns into an ongoing dialogue, respond to each and every reply as soon as you can.

2. Collect all the information you need

At the same time as making your initial contact with the customer, you (or your team member) should take the necessary steps to collate all the information about the customer’s transaction. This should include the service or product they have purchased (or are trying to purchase), previous email interactions, and anything other relevant information.

By demonstrating that you are informed about the situation, you will set the customer at ease and show that they are in capable hands. If you have multiple employees handling your customers, make sure all the necessary information is shared amongst your team. The customer should not have to repeat themselves.

3. Remain professional

Throughout your interactions with the customer, whether these are online or offline, you must be professional at all times. If the customer is being rude, whilst you’re within your rights to point this out to them, you must remain composed and state that you are doing your best to help them.

It’s imperative that you do not get involved in any form of argument.

4. Own the problem and resolve the problem (within your protocols)

When you have all the facts that you need, don’t delay. Take control of the situation, find out how you can satisfy the customer’s needs. Do not be afraid to ask them what they want – and then work to resolve their problem.

As the owner of the business how far you go to fix the issue is up to you. You should have protocols in place regarding what you can and can’t do for customers. If the fault is at your end, do everything you can to help the customer. However, if the problem is of your customer’s making, and you can’t find an agreeable fix, do not be afraid to tell them there’s nothing you can do.

You should not make a habit of appeasing customers when it’s unwarranted. If this results in public negative feedback, by all means, respond accordingly but remain professional throughout.

5. Learn from the experience

When the customer has been adequately handled (hopefully with a satisfying conclusion for all parties), take a step back and review their specific problem, from the beginning of their experience to the end. Why were they unsatisfied? Was something unclear? Did they misunderstand? How well was their problem dealt with?

If you spot any problem areas in any of your processes, make the most of the situation and take the necessary steps to fix these, to ensure the problem does not re-occur. And, when a fix has been put in place, if appropriate, contact the customer again to thank them for their help in reaching this resolution and helping you to improve your service.

Thanks for reading

So there you have it, 5 steps to dealing with unhappy customers for an online business. We hope you have found this post useful as you strive to deliver a service that satisfies all of your customers.

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