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Managing the dialogue with a dissatisfied consumer

A consumer contacts you to report that he has found a foreign object in one of your products. Customer service deals with the matter according to your standard procedure. They send a thank you letter that stresses that you are doing everything you can to guarantee the quality of your products. You add coupons for four times the value of the product and ask the consumer to send the foreign object back to you.

You get a reply from the consumer… but he is very dissatisfied!

The consumer cannot appreciate your approach and objects to the ‘standard letter’ and the height of the ‘compensation’. He reminds you that, in his words, he has ‘evidence’ that ‘will seriously compromise the integrity of your products’. He refuses to return the object and threatens to go public with this case.

The 3 tips!

Follow these steps in the correct order!



An important first step, on the one hand for collecting valuable information and on the other hand because the consumer needs it. The ‘listening stage’ (on the telephone) and the time you free up for this form the basis of (the restoration of) the relationship of trust between the consumer and your company.



Acknowledge the feelings the consumer is expressing through his complaint. He has the right to be concerned over his health or the health of other consumers. He even has the right to be frustrated or angry with your company. This doesn’t mean that you assume responsibility for what has happened, but you acknowledge the consumer’s feelings about what has happened.



The solutions must be proportional to the nature of the event. The purpose is to determine the cause of the event. During this step you will reach an agreement with the consumer concerning the recuperation of the product. This is crucial for the subsequent investigation and it will give you the possibility of answering the consumer’s questions.



Offering coupons is part of the ‘solution’ step, however, if this is done systematically during the first contact (for example after the first letter) you put your company in a delicate position. A number of consumers will be quick to take offence and feel that they are not or hardly being heard. Others will take this as an acknowledgement of guilt on your part or as ‘hush money’. Finally, some people will take advantage of it to receive coupons for minor, fictitious complaints.

Food Security can help you with:

- Training program ‘Dialogue with a consumer

- Help in the case of difficult contacts with a consumer

Do not hesitate to contact us!