How Do You Deal with Subscriber Complaints?


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customer complaints

How do you handle subscriber complaints from your email list community? Do you take it in stride as a part of doing business, or does it freak you out a little bit and send you scrambling? I must admit to the latter, but I am learning to grow a thicker skin, get over myself and realize that you can’t please all of the people all of the time, and that making mistakes sometimes is part of being human. In this post, I’d like to explore the idea of handling complaints, and what’s the most fruitful way to resolve an issue and move on with your day so that you don’t end up in a bit of a tizzy as I found myself the other day.

In addition to my RSS feed, my visitors are invited to subscribe to my email update list where I send an email about once a week with updates about what I’m up to in my business, I share things I’m learning, little victories and course corrections as I make them. BTW, this is a double opt-in list, meaning that subscribers first fill in a form with their own email address and then they click on a confirmation message in their inbox to complete the transaction.

So, I was poking around in my Aweber email management account setting up a broadcast message when I saw a bit of orange highlighting around one of the numbers in the stats for one of my email lists. It turns out that was in the ‘complaints’ column. “OMG!” I thought. Someone had complained about one of my emails. My heart started to beat very quickly as I opened the broadcast message in question, and it was typical of the kinds of messages I normally send, and until that particular incident, there have been 0.0% complaints. I was baffled, so I dove into the Aweber knowledge base to research what this was all about and find out what I could do about it.

But I learned that if a subscriber reports your email messages as spam to their ISP, Aweber will automatically delete that subscriber from your list. So, I took a step back and took a breath and realized that you really can’t please everyone all of the time. I will never know what it was in that email that might have pissed that subscriber off to the point that they would report it as spam because that’s a pretty serious complaint and too many of them can cause your ISP to shut you down.

When I looked at the situation I understood that there was really nothing that I could do about it, so there was no point in getting all anxious about it. If a person had complained to me directly, I could have handled it and settled it with them personally and done whatever was required to make it right, learn from it and then move on. But there is no way to address an anonymous complaint, so I decided not to let it get to me.

So, I guess what I’m trying to do here is to share this as a “teachable moment.” When you have a business where you will be dealing with the public, you will have complaints. There is no avoiding it. All you can do is deal with them and move on and not let it freak you out. Establish a policy for how you will handle complaints to make things right with the customer. Discuss the issue with your team, and if it was indeed a mistake that was made, take the opportunity to learn and grow from it.

As far as my email subscriber list goes, I am going to take this opportunity to send a little survey (which I will address in another post) so that I can get a clear idea of what they want to see more of from me, and what I should avoid. This way I can provide the best information possible for my subscribers.

But in the end some people just like to grumble and gripe and they are difficult to please. You can’t lose your confidence or cool when you come across these kinds of people. I say keep your head up and keep on plugging away and offering your very best.  Some people will appreciate it, and some will not, but as long as you always put forth your best effort you are a winner.

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