The majority of the people you sell to are going to be awesome. In fact, chances are you’ll never hear from them at all. On rare occasion someone will take the time to thank you… which is always greatly appreciated and very morale boosting! But then there’s the total psychopaths….the type that cannot be made happy. You could refund them, let them keep it and send them a $100 gift card to Outback Steakhouse and they would still be miserable because they don't like the Outback Menu so they demand an exchange on the free gift card too… and these are the people we are going to discuss today.
I’m sure you have already tried to reason with the unhappy customer… you have tried so damn hard that you went to the friggin' internet to seek advice about the issue. On the bright side, you are an awesome person and a great business owner because it shows you really care and really want a solution. Or, you have reached your breaking point and you are aware that murder is a crime. Either way, here you are.
When you try to work with these “Level 10 Crazies”, typically they are completely uncooperative. Hopefully you had the time to read our article about Decoding Unhappy Buyers: What they SAY versus what they MEAN. But today we are going to dive into great solutions that will help you FINALLY end communication with your psycho and hopefully avoid a totally unjust bad feedback or chargeback.
First, immediately stop trying to reason with the person. Reality: YOU CAN NOT REASON WITH THE UNREASONABLE and you can not make logic of the illogical. It’s OKAY for them to tell you that you suck, that your business sucks, that your products suck. Trust me, it’s ok. Your life and business will go on long after this idiot. Yeah, it’s super lousy being bullied, but we all lived through elementary school and survived. So, stop trying to defend yourself, your company or your products because it's a total waste of your energy.
Second, From this point forward, keep any replies SHORT and TO THE POINT, yet still polite. Typing a novel-length-reply does nothing because the moron IS NOT READING IT. They do not *want* to read it. They *WANT* to argue and every time you reply with emotion they know they are breaking you down and winning!
Third, this may totally surprise you, but simply ASK the crazy buyer what they would like you to do to resolve their unhappiness. Say something like, “What can (your company name) do to resolve this issue? Let me know you’re thoughts and I’ll see what I can do for you”. You may be completely shocked, but the most common replies are:
“I don’t know” - which means that you have been trying and trying and trying to make them happy, yet THEY DON’T EVEN KNOW what would make themselves happy! No wonder your efforts have failed! Until *they* figure out what CAN make them happy, you’re not going to be able to resolve the issue, so the best option at this point is to offer them “a few days to think about it”. This usually shuts them up because it puts the ball in their court. If they continue to contact you without providing a potential solution, just reply back “What can (your company name) do to resolve this issue? Let me know you’re thoughts and I’ll see what I can do for you”. Over and over. Eventually they will realize they need to offer a solution or stop contacting because the game is no longer fun for them. Also, if you typically reply very quickly, start spacing out your responses to ONCE PER DAY. Do not allow them to continue an ongoing back-and-fourth bullying dialogue. Take control of the situation away from them.
"Nothing!" - At least they're honest. If nothing can make them happy then.... WTF? You can use the identical response shown above. Again, space out responses.
Something absolutely obnoxious. One person asked us to fire an employee who has been with us for 8 years at the time. When she was told the employee would be suspended and reprimanded, she was super happy and that was the end of the craziness. Of course we did not follow through because our employee had done nothing wrong, but the thought of someone being grossly punished was enough to appease this psycho.
You may even get a really-super-mega-Crazy who wants the solution to be you going out of business. LOL, I guess???? So me closing shop forever would make you happy because you dislike the $8 shirt for some reason? Reminder: You can make logic of the illogical!
If the response you get is laughably ridiculous, you can either just say "Ok, have a great day!".
A Return at Your Expense + a Full Refund… or Letting them Keep it + Full Refund. Even if you did absolutely nothing wrong and even if the crazy customer violated the return policy, you have to decide which is better: Losing the money OR continuing to have this insane person harass you, possibly slam you with a bad review and/or even a chargeback. Unless the item in question is something incredible expensive, it usually just isn’t worth the time and energy to keep dealing with a person who is acting like a serial killer over a $4 coin purse. Ask yourself, "is the amount they paid for the item worth a permanent bad feedback?" Unless the item is a $1,500+ handbag, the answer is likely "No".
There are only 4 things an online seller can do to rectify a situation regarding a product:
- Offer a return
- Offer an exchange
- Let them keep it and ship a replacement
- Let them keep it and issue a refund or store credit
There are no other options. So at the end of the day, the buyer is going to have to pick one of these 4 options or no action will be taken. If your Level 10 Crazy can't decide then you are going to have to decide for them or do nothing. Let's quickly look at the outcomes of each of the 4 options:
- Return: If your buyer is truly a Level 10, they are NOT going to cooperate with putting the item into transit. It's too much of a hassle for them. They would rather just leave you bad feedback or file a chargeback than to spend 5 minutes sending it back by putting it in their mailbox with the flag up.
- Offer an exchange: this means you will be forced to continue to keep dealing with this person. What is the exchange is also the worst thing in the entire world and ruins their life even more? Do you truly want to continue a relationship with The Unreasonable? Again, this person does NOT want to spend 5 minutes returning it.
- Let them keep it and ship a replacement: There is absolutely no guarantee that 2-for-the-price-of-1 is going to satisfy them. You run a high risk of sending out a duplicate and still getting slammed with a nightmare review plus a chargeback.
- Let them keep it and issue a refund: As much as it sucks, this is usually the only way to get this person out of your life forever. They seem to disappear off the face of the earth when the refund is deposited back into their account and they get to enjoy the freebie. As a seller, make sure you are writing off the cost of the refunded merchandise on your tax returns as "loss"
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