As we take on and do more social media sites a lot of what we hear is people are afraid of, even scared, of bad reviews and comments on their websites. We all wish the world was always a happy place and that nothing sad was said about our products and services. This isn't always the case though. We are human after all which means we are destined to make a few mistakes and upset people no matter how hard we try.
As business owners we will receive bad reviews from time to time. No matter how hard we try while conducting business we will all run into a disgruntled customer. We may have done so by accident or maybe we were having an off game that specific day. In today’s world when someone has a bad experience there is a good chance they will take to the Internet to get their voice heard. This could be on your company social media page, on a group page, or on their individual social timeline.
When these instance happen we are wanting to make an immediate dash to the defensive as you may have known about the mistake or maybe the customer didn’t even talk to you and wants, possibly needs, to vent to the world.
When someone gives feedback whether good or bad the key is they obviously care as those that don’t care about your business will just verbally bash and attack and not go online. We have found over the past three years that most people that will post criticism online want to be heard but always are often well meaning people that want to see your business succeed. You can use this valuable information to not only build your brand but improve upon it.
Having a negative review can also help in building a real feel for your brand. Everyone knows that not everyone will be happy. Having both positive and negative reviews will show that the system is not just flooded with positive. The world isn’t that way and none of our businesses are that way as there is and always should be room to grow.
With a bad review you can showcase and shine by showing not only the person with the complaint but those that are current and future customers (those that come in future dates) how well your customer service truly is.
Time to listen
You've made a mistake and it is time to learn and learn how you can improve on this grievous "oops". Listen to what is being said by your customer. Be sincere in every interaction with the customer as you mainly listen to their pains. To you this may be a minor incident but to them it is a lot bigger than that if they have to post it online. If you are fortunate enough to solicit feedback from them, you are truly lucky as that will allow you to repair the relationship in most cases while also improving your business and build more awareness to your brand.
Don't over react
The key items that you never want to do is ignore, delete, or attack your customer. Whether they are right or not this is a time for your company to grow (in a positive way). This is where having a social media expert is extremely helpful. Sometimes you, the business owner or employee, are so close to the situation that you take offense and miss what the person is saying.
A lesson learned
Here is a lesson we always talk about as one of our key focuses is on restaurants. We love food as much as the next person. We have a customer that posted on how horrible the service was at our client’s restaurant, the food was burnt and the restaurant didn’t care about them after they raised the concern. What transpired is this:
- We first acknowledged the person and thanked them for the information and asked them to contact us (we took the situation offline). This showed everyone that we (our client as we are their employee in this) that we are taking this seriously. This is the first step. We didn’t over react or attack. We wanted to learn more and talk. We emailed the owner and let them know we were handling the situation and would get back with them after we had all of the facts.
- We listened to the customer as they did call us. The conversation was very one-sided (which is what we wanted). They talked about 80% of the time. We took notes and information about the situation. The customer had been to the location many times before and this was just an off experience. We offered to take them to lunch (at the restaurant). We scheduled it for a time we knew the restaurant owner wasn’t there and made certain that they didn’t know we were bringing an unhappy customer in. We let the customer know this as well. This was also our treat as this is part of what we do for our customers as we want everyone to succeed.
- The customer ordered, we ordered, and we just let things go well. Thankfully this time everything worked well (we were hoping for that). The customer left happy and we know has been back to the restaurant on several occasions.
After everything we wrote up a review and suggestions for improvement based on our conversation with the customer. The restaurant opted to take some, not all, of the decisions to improve their business. This is the restaurants choice to take all, some, or none of the information. The restaurant was also not charged as we believe that part of being social is taking stuff offline and actually socializing and being proactive in promoting their brand.
An opportunity to learn
The bad reviews should come infrequently and not be part of the daily part of the business. If complaints happen often there is a deeper problem that needs to be addressed. By working through the complaints you can take your business from good to great. Whether you are in a growing community like Valparaiso or a large city like Chicago how you treat your customers will go a long way to the success of your business.
A core part of JM2 Webdesigners, in fact rule #1, is no lying. Be honest with your customers and do not lie. Lie’s will do more damage than you will ever realize. Honesty can hurt but it will be received better. A negative review will help build that you are a real business and when handled correctly will show you truly are in business for the customer and not just for their money.
Maintaining your social media and growing your company is a constant effort. You will stumble and those stumbles should be learning opportunities. You started a business to make a difference and learning from your mistakes will make you achieve that result. If you are busy, which we hope you are, one way to offset your costs is by hiring a social media manager like JM2 Webdesigners. We stay current on the latest standards and live social media on a daily basis. Maintaining your social media, search engine optimization (SEO), website, email marketing, text marketing, and more is not as expensive as you may think. The price of a fancy morning latte or an evening drink is all it costs to achieve a great online experience by a team (not one or two – but an entire team) of dedicated professionals.
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