Online Reputation Management – Responding to online criticism – Part 5 – The unhappy customer

The Air Force Response Assessment provides “best practices” for dealing with online criticism to manage your brand reputation. The first step is identifying the type of person the website owner, blogger, reviewer, or forum poster is from among four choices defined by AFRA.  We have already covered the, the “troll,” the “rager,” and the “misguided individual.”

The final category is the “unhappy customer.”

No matter how much you devote to customer service for your business, or how well-received your book is, there will come a time when you have an unhappy customer, client, or reader. This inevitability grows in proportion to the size of your business or the popularity of your book.   It’s like the old saying goes, You can make most people happy most of the time, but you cannot make all people happy all of the time.

An “unhappy customer” is an individual who has personally had a negative experience with your company or has had a personal negative experience reading your book.  This differs from “trolls” or “ragers” who rarely are customers of the businesses they attack, or readers of the books they attack.

The AFRA recommends responding very specifically to the event that caused the unhappiness, and making efforts to reach a reasonable solution to improve the customer’s satisfaction.    An unhappy customer is sometimes a “misguided individual” that is not well-enough informed.  Keeping your customers or readers informed is your responsibility as a business owner or author. Therefore, the way to respond to an unhappy customer can often be the same as the way you would respond to a misguided individual, albeit with the option to “give” the customer something to acknowledge the negative experience.

The Internet has opened the doors to social interaction, exposing all of us to all personality types. While most people are logical enough to recognize “trolls” and “ragers” for what they are, misguided individuals and unhappy customers present an opportunity for proactive reputation management.

To see the full Air Force Response Assessment, click here.