Don't be horrible

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There are definitely horrible people in this world. I would include those really stupid "wearing a mask undermines my constituional right to freedom" (but not dumbness) Trump supporting Americans.

In business we (and you) deal with these people pretty frequently.

It's important not to Become One (the whole Neuro Linguistic Programming - or NLP - mirroring strategy will absolutely not work in this situation! ) with that customer.

Rather be nice (grit your teeth).

We've found that making a mistake is really an opportunity to shine. By fixing mistakes and over-delivering creates loyalty.

A customer wrote to inform us that he was returning his purchase to the online store where he had purchased it, and was asking for his money back (be grateful for these type of customers as most never write to you, and instead just complain to their friends and never buy from you again).

So we wrote back:

I’m so so sorry to hear of your troubles with our product. We’ll be happy to replace your purchase with new pre-assembled units which we will ship to you gratis. I know that this assembly can be very difficult (my iPhone still won’t recognise my thumb-print after assembling about 50 of these). We have purposely made the fitting very tight so that no glue is required. But obviously too too tight sometimes! Our contact line is a bit erratic at the moment as we are working on a restricted basis at our offices. But please feel free to call me at 12345678.

And received this note back:

I'm very impressed by your response and appreciate it very much. Just as a positive side note... I lead an e-commerce website design and development agency servicing medium-size to enterprise companies internationally, and I sometimes wish my clients could commit to offering as good customer support as you do! It really puts an online business a cut above the rest, so my compliments on that. I really appreciate the offer for a pre-assembled replacement and I'll gladly take you up on it!

In the end we organised one of our agents in his area to personally deliver our product to him (so she gained a client and he has his own local supplier now).

I received the replacements, thanks, and Takealot collected the others. Natasjia came to drop them off. When she dropped them off, she also gave me a ton of advice and insight about using your product and I was so impressed with the service... you guys obviously have a very well put together team and are doing a lot of things right. Once again, thanks for the help! I'm happily using your product now and very happy with the product and the end result. Going to leave a very nice review for you on Takealot today. Please let me know if there's anything else I can do, too — it's not often I find service this good. :)

Yes. We lost some revenue (the returned product plus the free replacement), but we now have a happy (more than likely loyal) customer. Who will recommend us to his friends and colleagues (and write us a good review). And this will lead to mutually beneficial relationship.

This would not have happened if we'd chosen to be horrible. Or more commonly, just shrugged our shoulders and thought "oh well, he's just one guy".

Your complaining customer is never ever "just one guy".

Your complaining customer is a connected megaphone who can help your business.

Or sink it.

Be nice.