All bluster, frustration ... all venom, pent-up and erupting at times like a flailing child hurling blame ... like a Frankenstein, being chased by flames and flashing mobs of angry villagers hell-bent on killing what's left of your name ... like a game, or a nightmare that stays the same, never ending in causing your family pain ...
Never mind who's to blame for it all (name's the same!) ...
Despite all of this (and in light of it too): how do you handle a dissatisfied customer?
If you're trying to run and grow a business unrelated to previous missteps, hue and public outcry -- or in fact, if there have been no previous missteps and you are fortunate (or new) enough to have a perfectly flawless business service track record -- you or your customer service support team might:
1) Reach out to the dissatisfied customer personally (Check! Did that)
2) Listen to the customer's complaint(s) and understand perfectly the customer's POV (Check!)
3) Inform the customer of your company's policy regarding refunds or service credits, as applicable (Check!)
4) Offer the customer an equivalent exchange or replacement service (Check!); and a supplemental product or service offering to compensate the customer's inconvenience while, hopefully, defusing the customer's dissatisfaction ... not to mention, dissuading the customer from taking negative or damaging action(s) against your company, and livelihood, should said customer still feel so inclined - Check!, and CHECK!)
However, if you're trying to run and grow a business unrelated to previous missteps, hue and public outcry, but your new business name is similar, and your own name song remains the same ...
You struggle every day with strangers making accusations, leaping to conclusions and erroneous associations -- suddenly feeling, after the "due diligence" of their (targeted) web searches, that they MUST have been slighted, cheated, "scammed" or lied to -- trying to paint you and your struggling new business(es) as "criminal", falsely spreading their "discoveries" -- and in short then, demanding nothing short of full refunds!!!
Coupled with threats about "disclosing" their perceived mistreatments, or not even bothering to threaten, but simply taking to the internet to complain, and personally attack, defame ... they further feel they are armed and justified to reach out to lawyers, seek legal advise, whip other villagers into frenzies, continue to attack, insult, deride and cajole, because they happen to have been inconvenienced ... "Researched" online a little, and then decided to reject every reasonable and professionally appropriate effort that you or your new company attempts to make in good faith to correct the situation (per customer service steps 1-4, above) ... taking it upon themselves instead to lash out, complain, name-call and defame.
At this point, GAME OVER! Indeed, how do you handle such a "dissatisfied customer": a complete and total stranger, yet one who thinks he knows you and your business and bizarrely decides to make things personal ... then leaps to conclusions, makes false accusations and begins to flail dangerously, reaching out to your family members??
You file a criminal harassment complaint with the local police department, to start - which unfortunately, had to be done this past week against a particularly dissatisfied (disturbed and potentially dangerous) customer (a matter of old school public record, there is no need or reason for me to name names here).
And then you hope for the best against a whole new round of internet thrashing -- a new spate of name-calling, name-bashing, public denouncements, some of which will be caught and taken down upon demand ... but some will end up being cached, and/or recorded onto the websites of sick assholes who think they're performing a pubic service by collecting and broadcasting every alleged malfeasance -- permanently, allowing the (permanently) tarred and feathered business owner nothing more than an opportunity to rebut ... or be encouraged to pay to "mediate" accusations, which could very well be inaccurate, misleading or downright false.
To this particular website -- and any future business and/or personal relationships you might want to cultivate that are anywhere out there, but which may "stumbleupon" your Ripoff Report -- it doesn't matter.
False or not, you are already toast. Damaged goods, and your business is irreparably harmed ... Is this okay? Somehow justified?? There's a particularly sick and ridiculous asshole who seems to think so ... who delights in encouraging people to weigh in on others -- often hysterically, maliciously and/or inaccurately -- causing permanent, irrevocable harm and damage: not only to SEO, but also to reputations, earning power, dreams and livelihoods ... and encouraging customers to behave unreasonably, using forced-context bromides like "Freedom of Speech" or "the customer is always right"; and overused, fear-mongering bogey words such as "Scam!", "Fraud!", "Victim" and "Beware!".
BEWARE indeed, and don't believe everything you read. At best, you're getting only half of the story and at worst, you're party to the destruction caused and the damages inflicted ... and if you're too unreasonable, you may end up on the ass end of a criminal complaint.
There are times, as a customer, when "always" simply does not apply ...