Managing Conflict Resolution within your On-Demand Community

When life isn’t so rosy for the buyers and sellers on your on-demand app!

As your marketplace grows, you will become increasingly responsible for resolving conflicts between users.  The overwhelming majority of these will arise from perceived deficiencies in the services your sellers provide to buyers.  As the app owner, you cannot afford to leave these conflicts unchecked; your app’s fragile reputation is on the line.

In resolving conflicts, your role is to act as a mediator rather than a judge – i.e. to help the parties come to a resolution rather imposing your final decision upon them.  This isn’t always an easy task.  In this post we’ll outline the ways in which you should approach conflict resolution.


Act Quickly or Ignore at your Peril

Act immediately and never allow small problems to develop into big ones.  Potential conflicts may have already become enflamed by the time you first learn about them.  Put out the fire before it gets worse.  Always remember that ignoring disgruntled people encourages them to seek to redress without your involvement or control.


Give Both Sides an Opportunity to be Heard

No matter what the issue, ensure you listen to both sides of the story.   Refusing to hear and consider both sides equally is fundamentally unfair and will result in dissatisfaction and backlash eventually.

Show you Understand their Side then Help them Understand the Other’s

Informed empathy and mutual understanding are your most powerful conflict-resolution tools.  Once you have listened to both sides properly, you are in an ideal situation to empathize, address their respective concerns and help them understand the other side’s perspective.


Seek Resolution through Compromise

Given that you have likely developed cancellation policies and secured pre-payment, the vast majority of conflicts will arise from buyer dissatisfaction.  Before seeking or suggesting a resolution ask yourself these questions:


  1. Does the buyer have a legitimate concern?
  2. What does the buyer want?
  3. Is the buyer being reasonable?
  4. Is the seller willing to accept any responsibility?
  5. Are you willing to contribute to a resolution?
  6. What is the buyer’s most reasonable position?
  7. What is the seller’s most reasonable position?
  8. Is there another way to expand the pie and offer additional value?


Once you have answered the above questions, you should be in a position to resolve the conflict.  Given that you are usually dealing with relatively small value transactions, resolution will be achievable under most circumstances if you follow these guidelines.

Finally, keep an eye out for red flags – i.e. buyers who have made multiple complaints or sellers who are repeatedly the source of complaints.   As more people join your app, you are inevitably going to come across a few bad apples that you may need to remove from the app’s community.


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