Crowdsourcing Solutions For Difficult and Angry Customers


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I’ve never been a fan of companies that try to shirk their responsibilities to support and service their customers by relying on crowdsourcing. It’s epidemic with large online companies — the norm, in fact.
On the other hand, where do I go when I want help on a subject? Often it’s to third party sites — discussion boards, or other sites where those interested in the subject share their knowledge. Whether it’s about hobbies, or about business issues, I find the best answers come from those that share without having any huge commercial interest in the subject. Passion often seems to morph into wisdom.

Crowdsourcing Techniques To Deal With Difficult And Angry Customers
It struck me that it would be interesting to try an experiment. Would it be possible to create a knowledgebase of techniques and wisdom about how to deal with the most difficult, angry and frustrated customers, by using both my knowledge, the vastly experienced customer service folks already out there?
This stems from the fact that so many of the techniques I teach people in my difficult customer seminars actually have originated with people who have attended my seminars in the past. Can we harness this expertise?
I’m not sure. So it’s an experiment.

The concept is simple. We’ve set up a system where:

  • Visitors can pose questions about customer service issues they’d like help with.
  • Visitors can also post a complete FAQ (a question and answer) on any aspect of customer service, and in particular how to deal with those thorny difficult customer situations.
  • Readers can read, of course.
  • In addition, readers can comment on (engage with) the community, and rate the questions and answers in terms of usefulness.

Invitation To Participate
We’d like to invite you to visit and participate, particularly because there’s an incredible amount of expertise on CustomerThink. The address is, and while our tweaking isn’t yet complete, there are some questions and solutions currently available. So, you can read, get a sense of what we’re attempting, and of course, we’d love to have you participate by sharing your questions, answers, or comments.

And If You Have Advice…
…about how to develop this community or practice, we’d love to read your comments here. As I said, this is an experiment to see if we can harness crowdsourcing (and our own expertise) to create a repository for the best advice and specific techniques on dealing with difficult and angry customers. But, since I don’t have any track record of success at creating a social community of practice, and it’s a bit new for me, I’m looking for both general and specific suggestions about how to encourage participation, how to get the word out, and so on.

Looking forward to hearing from the experts on CustomerThink.

Robert Bacal
Robert began his career as an educator and trainer at the age of twenty (which is over 30 years ago!), as a teaching assistant at Concordia University. Since then he as trained teachers for the college and high school level, taught at several universities and trained thousands of employees and managers in customer service, conflict management and performance appraisal and performance management skills.


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