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Use caution when responding to online complaints

Nov 13, 2023 | Business Litigation

In today’s digital age, online complaints and reviews are an inevitable part of business. How a company responds to these complaints is crucial, as it can significantly impact its reputation and customer relations. In some cases, the issue at the center of the complaint, the response or both can lead to legal action.

Companies shouldn’t ignore online complaints, but they should only respond carefully. Inappropriate responses may escalate conflicts so, it’s essential to approach online complaints with professionalism, empathy and a clear strategy.

Maintaining professionalism and empathy

The tone and content of the response are critical. Avoid defensive or confrontational language, which can exacerbate the situation and create a negative impression for other potential customers reading the response. Careful wording is critical in these cases because you don’t need to admit to anything that might be used against your company if the matter is taken to court.

Understanding the public nature of responses

Responses to online complaints are visible to a broad audience, not just the complainant. Because of this, you should consider how your reply may appear to others reading the complaint. Additionally, remember these replies are permanent because even if you delete them, screenshots may have been taken.

Seeking resolution offline when necessary

In cases where the issue is complex or sensitive, taking the conversation offline is advisable. Provide contact information and invite the customer to discuss the matter further via phone or email. This approach allows for a more detailed and personalized resolution process away from the public eye.

Ultimately, you have to be aware of the possibility that serious complaints online may lead to legal action. Consider the implications of any response you provide. If the situation is severe enough, bringing in someone familiar with these matters may be beneficial.