Demanding customers – The other side of the coin

Girl expressing rageThere has been always demanding customers. But, since social media started to be widely used, the number of these kind of situations has increased. And nowadays these demanding customers can really be a threat for any company. Or… could it be an opportunity?

With a great power comes a great responsibility! And in this case, social media gives power to both sides of the coin, both businesses and customers. As I said in my previous post about how everyone should be genuine when engaging with people, there’s some risks when using network platforms.

Let’s look at the customers’ side. They know they have a power that maybe 10 years ago they didn’t have. This power is about realizing that with a single post in Facebook/Twitter/website page they can reduce that business reputation. Luckily is not something that often happens, but we should still be aware of it.

Where I see most of these demands happens is in the hotels sector. In fact, there’s a lot of websites in which they give tips on how to ask for an upgrade! A customer casually says that he/she would like a room upgrade, almost like a joke. They might state that it’s their birthday, or it’s a special occasion. They do it in Facebook/Twitter/Google+ where everyone can see it, and therefore press the hotel to take a favorable decision. There’s nothing really bad about it when we have that room available or the customer doesn’t expect the upgrade.

The dangerous part comes when they actually expect it and we cannot attend their petition. When they are not just suggesting, but rather demanding. They might not explicitly say it, but they could leave a bad review if they don’t get what they want.

In this situation we need a bit of common sense. A lot has been written about how to deal with demanding customers. Even if some has been written even before the social media “boom”, most of it can be used in social media as well.

Not getting nervous is rule number one. If we really can’t satisfy the request made, then maybe we can find other solutions. In the hotel situation, maybe we can offer free breakfast, free access to the spa, discounts in certain activities, etc. If the customer keeps pressing even after this and we can’t do anything else, then we should still keep calm and reply in good manners. If a bad review is made, probably we will be able to explain to the rest of the public what happened, or even… just accept it and move on. As I said these cases should not be common (If they are common, then something’s absolutely wrong!)

To summary, both businesses and clients have great power thanks to social media. Businesses should focus on do their best, showing true concern for their customers. Clients can be demanding of course, but always within the limits of politeness.

7 thoughts on “Demanding customers – The other side of the coin

    • I’d say it can be a bad management issue and should be taken as an indicator that the business has a problem. There should be better “solutions” than those. Although the saying “The customer is always right” is a bit dangerous. The business need to be really careful about these things. I would say the first step should be to look inside the company and make sure there’s no problems in their way of acting. It should be a thorough analysis, being completely truthful with themselves. Then decide what to do with customers.
      Thanks for commenting! It’s true it’s a complicated issue!

      • You bring up some good points, and I think that it also depends on what industry you are in. Starbucks would for example be silly by treating any customer other than with perfection, but AT&T on the other hand might deem a customer as unprofitable and ask them to no longer use their services. However, the essential key here is the analysis, as you said it has to be truthful and accurate because defining ones weaknesses is the best way to handle them. The point to take away is that data mining is extremely powerful and important if done right!

        • Wow, totally agree with you. Actually probably has to do with the fact that satisfying a customer in Starbucks is easier and the “profit” from one to another doesn’t vary too much, but AT&T is completely a different story. So indeed, the industry matters so much too.
          Also agree that data (Big data) is crucial, though seems that some businesses are struggling to make use of it.

          • Agreed, I think the impact of one customer at Starbuck is bigger as well, because it is more common to invite a friend for coffee at their favorite coffee place, than asking someone to join their phone company. You are 100% correct, I am currently interning at a place that are deliberately choosing to ignore all the dat they are gathering.

          • That’s a pity, I guess they think in the really short term, thinking they can’t allocate resources right now to explore the opportunities. I totally get it, but still… it’s such a waste. Good luck with that though. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the one tackling that challenge some day… if you stay there! 😛

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