How Can You Handle Customers Who Threaten to Post Negative Online Reviews?

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The good thing about social media is that it has empowered customers. But the not-so-good part comes when the customer starts making unreasonable and unethical demands. What can you do when a customer threatens to write negative reviews online if his/her demands aren’t met? Given the bad effects negative reviews can have on your business, will you surrender to such threats in order to protect your online reputation? After all, it only takes is one discontented customer to harm your online reputation. What can you do when an angry customer threatens to spoil your online reputation? Here are some tips for handling customer threats of negative online reviews and turning the situation into a positive end result.

  1. Stay calm: A positive tone while communicating with a bad customer can make even the most annoyed customer feel positive about the interaction. Try to start off the interaction on the right foot by thanking the customer for their business and apologizing for the inconvenience. Acknowledge the threat, but don’t let it overpower your thoughts. Handle it like a routine customer dissatisfaction episode. Stay calm and act professionally. Follow the usual protocols of recommending alternate solutions, and try to go above and beyond to pacify the situation.
  2. Document everything: Giving in to the demands of an angry customer can have long-term repercussion, because other customers will sense that you are vulnerable to exploitation. When dealing with customers who are demanding freebies, document every single incidence. All the emails and calls exchanged with such customers should be documented. You must also document every attempt that you made to please them and make the situation better. Documenting the details will help you present your side of the story in case the customer posts the incident on review sites. You’ll be able to dispute it with the host site if the review is false and damaging.
  3. Contact your loyal customers: Contact some of your best customers and explain the situation to them. They know you, and they know you’d never do business the way the angry customer described on review sites. As your faithful customers, they’ll happily post positive reviews about your business on the same review site. This will bury the negative review under an avalanche of positive ones.
  4. Create social media policy for your organization: This will give employees the confidence of knowing how to handle such situations, the choices they have and that senior management will understand and respect their decisions. After every unpleasant customer incident, debrief with staff and discuss how to prevent a future recurrence. Then take comfort in knowing that you did your best, and move on.

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