At some point or another, every business needs to deal with comments from unsatisfied customers.

It’s always difficult to see those types of comments but it’s important for companies to properly take care of those types of situations.

Through the right public relations strategies, companies can get help in managing any unhappy customers.

Communication

If a customer has spoken out about a product or service from a business publicly, companies need to reach out to that customer to deal with the situation.

It’s important for businesses to reply to the negative comments as soon as possible on whichever platform the original comment was made.

This will show the rest of the target audience that the business is taking all of its customers and their complaints seriously instead of simply ignoring them or trying to remove them.

Once the company has responded to the unhappy customer, this conversation should be continued in private via email or phone call.

The company can ask the unhappy customer for their contact information to show that the business is serious about what happened.

This strategy also helps companies minimize the odds of misinterpreting any messages or making the unhappy customer even angrier because of a simple response.

Privacy

Once the company has responded to the unhappy customer, and they’ve provided their contact information, the company should be reaching out to the customer privately.

During a private conversation, it’s important to listen to that customer fully, without interrupting them.

Unhappy customers can end up feeling disrespected by a business, and interrupting them can make the situation worse.

That’s why when companies are communicating privately with these customers, the most important thing is to listen and take into consideration the legitimacy of their complaints.

Businesses should only speak when necessary during these types of conversations. Then, the company needs to apologize honestly and thank the unhappy customer for their feedback.

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Even if the company believes that the complaint the unhappy customer is making isn’t very reasonable or realistic, it’s still important to apologize for making them feel that way and thank them for their comments.

Moving Forward

Many times, when customers complain about a business, the issue tends to be a simple misunderstanding.

That’s why companies should be expressing their gratitude to any customers that have spoken out about a business because this helps companies improve their products or services.

To mitigate any future negative situations, companies can also give unhappy customers something special.

That doesn’t mean companies are required to give their unhappy customers a refund as soon as they complain about something, but a discount or free shipping is always a good option.

Manage Disgruntled Customers with PR

Good public relations and customer service tend to go hand-in-hand.

In fact, it doesn’t matter what industry a business operates in because if the customer service isn’t handled properly, even the best public relations professionals and strategies in the world won’t be able to make the situation go away.

Additionally, with the prevalent use of social media platforms, these days it’s impossible for companies to hide because all of the unhappy customers tend to express their complaints on these platforms on a daily basis.

That’s why these days companies need to create specific customer service social media accounts where customers can direct their complaints.

Buying Journey

To improve the customer service efforts of a business, companies first need to get a better understanding of the buying journey that their customers go through.

Depending on the industry and the nature of a company, that can mean anything from optimizing the website visitor experience, making sure all customers have a pleasant experience in stores, creating a seamless user interface for an app, quickly fulfilling orders, or responding to customer complaints.

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Companies also need to take into consideration the customer experience from start to finish and work on improving every single element.

That’s because every touchpoint that a company gets with the target audience needs to reflect the purpose of that business.

According to research, most customers are going to be a lot more likely to recommend a business that has a strong purpose and supports that purpose with clear actions, as well as great customer support, compared to companies that ignore both of these elements.

Customer Support

Customer support employees can get a lot of support from public relations teams as long as there’s open communication and collaboration between the two departments.

The customer support employees should be reaching out to get advice from the public relations professionals inside a business whenever the negative situation starts to escalate.

That’s because the public relations professionals can help customer support employees handle different customer problems, and during more difficult cases, they can also create public statements that can show how the company understands the issue and takes it seriously.

Additionally, by having customer support in public relations teams join forces, companies get a chance to create more personable relationships with their customers.

This allows companies to work hard at understanding their target audiences on a deeper level, which helps in figuring out their needs and wants, and ways that the business can cater to them.

Ronn Torossian is the Founder & Chairman of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States.

With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America’s most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals.

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Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.