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The five types of social media complainers (and how to deal with them)

The five types of social media complainers (and how to deal with them)

It’s probably happened to you – one of your customers is complaining on one (or more) of your social media accounts. A dissatisfied customer can be annoying, especially if everyone can read what he’s complaining about. Luckily you can do something about it: you can learn to deal with the different styles of complaining on social media. How? Read on below as we explain. 

Based on a paper from the University of Florida, ExactTarget (now known as Salesforce Marketing Cloud) compiled five complainer persona types in this infographic. Very useful if you want to turn a complainer into a happy customer again.

The humble customer

The humble customer generally won’t complain, but she might post a message on Facebook or Twitter when something’s bothering her. The humble customer doesn’t have a track record for complaining on social media and often is only looking to be understood. If she bought a cucumber at the grocery store that turned out to be rotten – she’s not looking for a new cucumber but does want to be recognized. “I don’t think it’s right that I bought a vegetable that’s already rotten”, this type of customer will say. Simply responding “We’re very sorry, we’ll do everything we can to ensure it won’t happen again”, is fitting here. The customer feels like she’s been heard and other users will notice that you’re responding professionally to complaints.

How to deal with the humble customer:
Usually a simple “we’re sorry” is enough. Be sure to reply to the customer’s comment where it occurred, so that it’s publicly visible for everyone to see. 

The aggressive customer

The aggressive customer complains loud and clear. Difficult to deal with, but there’s also a way to see the positive side. If you can quickly and simply solve his problem, then the aggressive customer will also make this known to the world. Also good to know: this type of customer doesn’t react well to excuses.

How to deal with… the aggressive customer:
It’s a smart choice to take the conversation with an aggressive customer ‘offline’ from social media – so move to e-mail, telephone or private chat. You can react to his social media post to state that you’ll be in touch with him personally as soon as possible. Listen well to the customer and let him finish his story before you jump in. Acknowledge the fact that there is a problem and try to explain as clearly as possible what’s going to happen next in order to solve the problem as best you can. 

The demanding customer

The demanding customer expects the best and nothing less. He’s prepared to pay for it and often has a good reason for lodging a complaint. The demanding customer is also very interested in the process and results and will be curious to understand how you expect to solve a specific problem.

How to deal with… the demanding customer
Listen actively and respectfully to the complaints of the demanding customer. Make it clear to him that you know there’s a problem and resolve the situation offline. “I received this nightstand today, but it’s a COMPLETELY different colour than the one I ordered. What horrible service!” is a typical reaction from a demanding customer if something didn’t go as expected. To satisfy this type of customer, it’s important to identify the problem online immediately: “You’re right, the nightstand was delivered in the wrong colour. Please send us a direct message so we can get this resolved together.” is a suitable answer. If this type of customer has complained, it’s important to solve the problem as quickly as possible in a private message: “We’re very sorry that something went wrong with your order. Please inform us if you’d like to exchange or return your nightstand for a full refund.”

The opportunistic customer

The goal of the opportunistic customer isn’t to solve a problem, but to get something extra to which he’s otherwise not entitled. Trying to satisfy your customer but it never seems to be enough? Then you’re probably dealing with this type of complainer… 

How to deal with… the opportunistic customer:
Always stay objective and use good data to support your answer. Do you immediately hear that your proposed solution “isn’t good enough”? Ask what you can do to solve the problem.

The chronic complainer

The chronic complainer is never, ever satisfied: there’s always something wrong. This can be very frustrating, but the customer is still king and must be helped. Despite the frequency of complaints, this type of complainer is still a good customer and will tell others about your positive reaction to his complaint.

How to deal with… the chronic complainer customer:
Patience, patience, patience: that’s the most important part about dealing with this type of customer. Don’t hold the conversation on social media  take it offline or to a private chat space like Facebook Messenger. Listen clearly to the problem(s) and don’t get angry. 

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