99% of people you do business with will be a pleasure to work with.
But there will always be the 1% who are absolute nightmares…
Customers who demand refunds way after your refund period. Clients who refuse to pay up and then threaten to bash your company on social media. People who will harass and attempt to manipulate you and your business into giving them what they want.
I call these people “social media terrorists,” and in this video, I share a few stories about some crazies and How I dealt with them.
Social Media Terrorists: Your Worst Nightmare (And How to Deal With It)
How To Deal With Social Media Terrorists
First, before I get all negative, here’s a positive statistic for you:
99% of people who you do business with will be a pleasure to work with.
Then there’s that other 1%…
The people who will harass you, threaten you, and attempt to manipulate you (and your business) into giving them what they want.
I call these people social media terrorists. And unfortunately, there’s little you can do to prevent them from harassing you.
I’m Derek Halpern, the founder of Social Triggers, and in this video, I’ll show you how to deal with social media terrorists with grace, when warranted, and with a smack in the face when grace just won’t do.
First, a story:
I sell premium, in-depth training courses. And they’re not cheap. That’s why I offer payment plans. These payment plans make these more expensive courses accessible to more people.
Every so often, I’ll get someone who emails me and asks me to stop charging them. And we always politely explain that this is a payment plan, not a membership. And 99% of the time, they say, “oh ok, I’m sorry about that. My mistake.”
But then there’s that other 1%…
The 1% that demands I stop charging them and refund them all of their money, even though it’s 6 months past our clearly-stated refund policy.
Yes, SIX MONTHS.
Instead of asking nicely, they make demands. Instead of explaining why they feel we should make an exception, they threaten us.
Like this one guy, I’ll call him Alex. He wrote in, demanded we stop. When we explained the situation, he went on about how he never even looked at the materials.
This was a lie. We had proof that showed him downloading ALL of the content 5 minutes before sending the email.
After we called him out on it, he threatened to bash my company on social media.
Now, if you talk to most online business owners, at this point, they’ll tell you, “give him the refund and be done with it. It’s not worth fighting.”
And you know what?
That’s probably the RIGHT way to handle it a lot of the time. There’s no sense wasting your time on a BOPITA.
But sometimes, it’s not about the money or the headache. Sometimes, it’s about the principle.
Sometimes you just can’t negotiate with social media terrorists.
So, we uphold our clearly-stated policies. And we have the RIGHT as business owners to do it.
But it got me thinking…
Right now we live in an interesting world. We live in a world where we can hold companies accountable.
If a company wrongs us, we can take it to social media and get the justice we deserve. Because if they don’t make it right, there’s a chance it will go viral and create a huge PR disaster for that company.
The problem is, people don’t turn to social media when they have been wronged. They turn to social media when they don’t get their way, even if they don’t DESERVE to get their way.
And therein lies the problem.
We now have a voice to hold companies accountable and people like this guy, Alex, is ruining it for all of us.
And that’s why I want to share with you how I deal with these crazies in Social Triggers.
Because if we keep letting them get away with the nonsense, it’s going to be a tough world to live in.
So how do I deal with them?
1. I Realize It’s Not About Me, It’s About Them
Some of these people will say some hurtful stuff. Much of it has nothing to do with you. It has to do with them.
One person sent me some nasty emails and, after a few back and forths, they said, “I’m so sorry about that. I was having a bad day and I took it out on you.”
That’s usually the case.
When you’re dealing with people who ask for refunds months (or years) past the refund date, I’ve found it’s almost always because that person decided they need money. And they think you’re the easiest way to get it.
In fact, I have one friend who offers a one-year long refund policy. Not surprisingly, every year, about 1 to 2 weeks before Christmas, refunds SPIKE drastically.
Because it’s Christmas time and they need the money.
Now, obviously, he has to uphold his one-year refund policy. But that’s not my policy and if it’s not your policy, you don’t have to offer them a refund!
You can be the sap that gets taken advantage of or you can be the guy who upholds their policies to ensure people like this don’t take advantage of you.
2. I Remove Them From The Social Triggers Community, Immediately and Indefinitely
Let me clarify something:
If someone refunds a product, I don’t hold any grudges. Sometimes, the product just wasn’t right for them.
However, if I notice that they buy everything I sell and they refund every single thing, you can bet I’ll put them on the blocked and banned list.
Because that person is what, or WHO, I call Refund Ralph.
Who is Refund Ralph?
He’s the guy (or girl) that buys everything, benefits from it, and asks for the refund because he’s cheap.
Surprisingly, this isn’t something that just online business owners deal with. It’s something big box retailers deal with, too.
I read an article in Business Week about what’s known as refund fraud. Long story short, clothing stores discovered that people would buy a dress, wear it once, and then refund it because they wanted to buy another dress.
This is called refund fraud because even though they can technically do that, they’re taking advantage of the refund policy and the store is suffering because of it.
So, what do companies do?
They actually track what’s known as a serial refunder. And eventually, they tell them they’re no longer allowed to refund products they purchased at their store.
I honestly think that’s too nice. In Social Triggers, I’ll ban that person for good.
Now that I’m done with that little tangent, back to dealing with the crazies…
I remove all crazies – people who threaten, attack, or bully me (or my employees) – from the community indefinitely.
Because if they did it once, they’ll do it again.
3. I Reframe Their Hurtful Responses As A Big Joke
When people say horrible things, it’s easy to let it get under your skin and ruin your day.
Luckily, I’ve got thick skin, but I noticed something about my behavior. When people are extra crazy, I like to share the craziness with my readers.
BECAUSE IT’S FUNNY TO ME.
I also forward the really crazy ones to friends so we can all laugh about it.
A psychologist would probably tell me I’m doing this because I’m seeking approval. Whatever. Sometimes it’s just fun to point and laugh at someone who’s trying to cause you grief.
Do you know who else did this?
In the John D. Rockefeller biography, Ron Chernow mentioned that John used to read all of his hate mail at the family dinner table.
I can’t wait until I have kids and a family. While most families talk about their day, I’ll come prepared with email print outs for everyone.
4. I Prepare For The Worst
Now, here’s where we get serious:
When people threaten you, they rarely follow through on their threats. Following through would be too much work.
But when they do, you’ve got to be ready to defend yourself. I like to arm myself with proof.
Like in the case of this one guy:
He tried to get the best of me, but I had everything I needed. I had IP logs, email confirmations, and other proof. I could take him to court and beat him in 20 seconds.
(Okay, maybe not 20 seconds, but you get the picture).
5. I Don’t Let It Take Up That Much Of My Time
As I mentioned earlier, most people appease these crazies by giving them what they want. Most big companies do and so do most small companies.
And you know what?
You could take that route. It would probably be less work, and you can focus on doing what actually helps you.
But if on the off chance you feel like picking a fight with them, like I sometimes do, you need to make sure it doesn’t prevent you from working on what matters most: keeping your other customers happy and finding new customers.
And that’s it for this video.
So, tell me…
How do you deal with the crazies? Leave a comment below this video.
Also, do you know someone who’s suffered the slings and arrows of a social media terrorist?
Pass this video on to them.
If nothing else, maybe it will put a smile on their face.
If you’re new around here, subscribe to Social Triggers.
I send videos out like this each week. You’ll love them.