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How to deal with a dissatisfied customer

How to deal with a dissatisfied customer

“Tips, hints and ideas on how to make the best of a bad situation and what you must do when a customer does complain”


Welcome back to the blog and as always I hope you are well. We come at your today with an issue I imagine all of you at some point have faced, I hope not, but I know from the experience I have that at some point you will have faced this issue….complaints. As with any business the nature of the way you deal with complaints is vital to the ongoing and repeat success of your business. If you do not handle complaints in the right manner, whether they come from the bar owner or group of your players, then the person who will suffer in the long run I am afraid is your good self.


I have had several complaints over the years when I have been doing trivia, some are more genuine that others, some are just drunken fools angry they didn’t win and some are complaints I have stated I need to better my trivia presentation. Let us have a look in more detail about the kind of things I am talking about that may cause dissatisfaction with your customers, and how you can seek to put it right and handle it in the correct way….


How to deal with a dissatisfied customer – When the trivia question is wrong?

This is going to be something that if you are new you are going to have to get used to. The reality is even TV game shows with all their vast millions of dollars and high-paid writers occasionally have a wrong answer.  How can your quality be above theirs?  There are two ways you may find yourself needing to deal with a complaint when a customer is arguing a question is wrong. One may be the fact that you are wrong and you have made a mistake. The other may be the customer things he is right when he isn’t…

Both complaint styles are very similar in the way you handle them and you have to be firm and consistent. Yes, respect the customers views and be quick to defer the situation by stating that you will speak to them after the to explain and bury the hatchet. But the reality is you cannot have customers challenging every single call you make, as the night will go on forever. Imagine a customer complains on every answer….you will spend the rest of your night on Google.  Not realistic at all!

I always suggest a firm stance…. the answer you have in your trivia software is what counts (or whatever you have on your answer sheet). Apologies, if you are indeed found to be incorrect, for a mistake but don’t be a push over.

The best way to handle it I have found when someone challenges the answer to a question I simply say openly on the microphone “Ok, meet me in the back alley at noon tomorrow and we will discuss it.”  Everyone laughs and now attention is diverted away from the challenger to your funny remark.  Without any pause or delay immediately ask your next question.  It works!  If you are ever in this situation you will find it works effectively any time a challenge is presented.

Another:  “We have a complaint box at the city landfill.  Feel free to file your complaint there”.  Ok, I have never actually used that one in reality as I just thought of it here, but you get the idea.  Say something funny to deflect the situation then move on.  It is a very simple formula.

DO NOT, and I repeat DO NOT ever stop the show to address the complaint.  You will lose valuable time, your credibility and likely the account.

How to deal with a dissatisfied customer – When offense has been caused?

Probably a bit more rare but either your tone, style of questions or even content of one of the questions asked may indeed go someway to causing offense…..if this happens and people complain then you have to say sorry, if the person is angry see if there is a free drink that could be used to take away the pain and be very very careful the next time.  Again, make it fast.  Don’t make a big deal about it.  It is not necessary.

How to deal with a dissatisfied customer – When the venue owner is the one complaining?

This is a no brainer…..if the venue owner, i.e. the person who hires and pays you raises a complaint then there is nothing you can do but act on it. State your case if you think they are wrong by all means but always listen and act otherwise they will just go else where and find a trivia host who will listen.  Even if you are in the right, there is nothing wrong with admitting you are wrong to save the account.  After all, what is better?  Standing your ground and going hungry or showing some good professional humility and cashing those checks at the bank each week?

How to deal with a dissatisfied customer – When accusations of cheating has been made?

This is hard. What do you do if a player comes up to you and says they have an idea that the person on another team is cheating or that they have saw them outside on their phones? Now you cannot go around disqualifying and deducting points based on what the customer says otherwise you may find yourself in the wrong and it wont create a very nice atmosphere at all. But you need to show respect to the person complaining. Tell them you are going to keep an eye on things and make a visible effort to walk the room and announce at the start of the next round to re-affirm the rule you established. If you are using wireless buzzers with software it is almost impossible for cheating to happen.  However, if they are cheating perhaps you need to pick up the pace of your game so that there is no time for the players to cheat.

How to deal with a dissatisfied customer – Is the customer always right?

No….this is myth. You have to listen, acknowledge and respect but they are not always right especially in the trivia environment. You need to not be a push over and I know this sounds firm and harsh but your customers will run rough shot over you if all you do is give in and award points anytime someone complains.

How to deal with a dissatisfied customer – Use the information given and reflect long and hard

  • Whenever a complaint is given to you and however you resolve it, not only will you learn from the experience but also you need to take into account why they complained.
  • What you could have done differently?
  • How to stop this occurring again?
  • How to keep customers pleased and above all else how to ensure the bar owners never ever complain (if you are helping them make a strong profit as we discussed last time) this is unlikely to happen.


All in all then hope you have gained something from this post and it is something I have enjoyed writing as when I was getting into the trivia world this was certainly something I took time to get used to. The first complaint and indeed the first serious complaint is always going to be hard and you will learn. Respect the customer, listen to their views but do not be a push over. I am not saying argue back every 2 minutes, what I am saying is make sure you don’t ruing your own quiz.


Thanks for reading again and I hope to see you back on the blog tomorrow with the latest updates. I have been asked to update another example quiz and don’t worry that will be coming soon along with a huge range of posts on every subject imaginable


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