One of the biggest consumer enabler in our lifetimes is the ability for customers to leave feedback about a shop/restaurant/service/business. This feedback or review can be positive or negative. But whatever form it takes, it is public and available to everyone.

Customer service improves not just because of the fear of getting a negative review but because the business owner/manager has the ability to HEAR from customers in a process driven manner and make changes based on this feedback. And this is free to the business.

Bottomline: It’s awesome for everyone involved.

One of the ugly aspects of this lies in the threats being given to business owners about “do this or I’ll leave a negative feedback”. Sure, only a minuscule percentage of the small percentage of feedback-leaving customers would use this threat tactic. But this is a loud bunch.

One of the problems I’ve seen is that this is a feel-good threat to the consumer irrespective of the business solving their problem or not.

For example, lets say there was a service deficiency (delayed shipment, incorrect item, etc).
Now, the business may be doing it’s very best to fix customer problems through normal channels like support email or call center.

The customer who threatens with a “fix this or else negative review” still gets the benefit of customer service solving his/her problem in the same way that a customer who did not threaten.

However, upon getting the solution, the customer sits back in his echo-chamber and thinks “wow, this threat actually worked for me” and only reinforces this into more and more aggressive future threats. They don’t recognize that maybe their problem could be solved without having had to threaten.

Sure, if the first level support response was not proper, you can always escalate. But there are too many customers who start off their first interaction with a threat. Thats just negative! (pun intended)

Is there a valid solution? How do you defuse this reaction?

Other than making it clear to the customer to “give us time to solve this before you write a review” there is little else a business owner can do.

What do you think?