My Client Put Me On Blast, Online. Now What?

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Social media and the world wide everything (internet) can be a gift + curse. Right? 7 years ago, if we had a disgruntled client then they would air concerns to us, and maybe some other folks. Now, everything that we do is on a public platform. The truth is behind the shell of the business, we are real-live working humans.

And, humans make mistakes.

We just do.

As professionals, our role is to minimize those mistakes. When they happen, we need to own up, and figure out a way to fix it that makes our clients happy…

Because playing the blame game is for losers.

The hard-truth is that once clients pay us a pretty dollar to do what we do…

They could care less that:

A. We are human and,

B. Humans jack ish up from time to time.

And when that rainy day comes. When we mess up on their ish we better move mountains + part the Red Sea to make them feel “secure” in our professionalism again.

And, they are right.

Where it gets sticky is when clients take their issues to the internet streets.

Here is the perfect time to issue a Public Service Announcement:

If you are reading this post and habitually treat clients poorly, ignore their concerns, slack on your responsibilities and are just an all around jack a#@,

This post does not apply to you.

This post applies to the hardworking, biz owners who make human mistakes from time to time.

So, what do you do when the irate client blasts you and your biz, online?

Let’s start with the law. First off, your clients do have the 1st Amendment Right to Free Speech. So, your issue is a) dealing with damage control and b) discerning whether a client’s statement was true or false. Also remember that the internet is a life-long paper trail. That means, what you say online, can and will be used against you in a court of law (if necessary).

Respond in the spirit of professionalism. Refrain from saying anything that may damage the client’s reputation.

Here is my recommendation:

  • Step away for a few minutes. Think about the review that the client has posted. Is there legitimacy to it?
  • Post a short response. At this point, you want to show them and your now, public audience that resolving client issues are a priority for you. Do not post anything online that supports or denies their claim. Here is sample language:

Thank you for your feedback. We greatly value you and will look into your concerns right away. Please give us a call so that we can discuss and determine the best way to proceed. Our priority is to make sure that you are 100% satisfied. We look forward to making that happen.

Notice, that I acknowledged simply acknowledged the customer’s filings. At this point, I may or may not know whether there was a mistake on my end, because I haven’t had time to look into it.

You want to steer the conversation away from social media or online forums.

Some social media and marketing pros recommend keeping the conversation online to showcase how you handled the situation. Remember, I am looking at it from a legal perspective.

Lastly, if the drama continues, you should contact an attorney to counsel you. Whatever you do, don’t engage in a tweet-facebook-yelp battle with the other person.

How have you dealt with clients airing the dirty laundry online?

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