No business will completely satisfy 100% of its customers 100% of the time. We fall short at times; and regardless of who’s at fault (I know the customer is always right, but you know…), it’s important that you diffuse the complaints or bad reviews and view them as an opportunity to listen and grow.
In this age of social media, it’s easy for someone to log in and pour their heart out on Yelp, Twitter, or Facebook. It’s then that you’ll hear new adopters of social media retort, “this is why we did not want to be on social media!” But before you make such a statement, remember that social media makes your business more transparent. It’s your responsibility to create an exceptional customer experience that they will rave about, not complain about.
So what should you do when you receive a negative comment or review on a social networking site? Follow these 6 steps to address the situation:
- Do not ignore or delete the complaint. You’re on social media to be social. You should be aware of daily activity on each platform and you should also be interacting with as many engaged users as possible. Ignoring negative feedback says “I don’t care.” Acknowledging a customer’s complaints can actually strengthen brand loyalty. Do not delete the review; address it. Keep in mind however, that there is a difference between a legitimate complaint, and someone being just plain rude. We call these attention-seekers, “trolls,” and you should not give them the attention they’re looking for. Ignore & delete.
- Act quickly. Do not let too much time go by before addressing a negative post or review. When you take action quickly, you are demonstrating exceptional customer service. Also, note that Facebook has updated its business pages to include your response rate. Now, when new users visit your page, they see how responsive you have been to users who have sent messages.
- Acknowledge the complaint. Before immediately defending yourself, be sure to apologize for the bad experience and acknowledge the concerns they addressed. Social listening is key. Your customers won’t feel valued if they get a robotic, automated response from you -they simply want you to empathize with them and recognize their concern.
- Take the conversation offline. Acknowledge the customer’s concern and invite them to speak with you in further detail about the incident outside of public view. You can ask for their contact information or give them yours -but you do not want them to go into detail about the situation on a platform where anyone who visits your page can see.
- Keep your cool. This can be tough, but never ever lose your cool when responding to an unsatisfied customer. They may get smart with you or be flat out rude, but it’s important that you maintain your professionalism and composure.
- Note room for improvement. Now that you’ve diffused the situation, take a moment to reflect and brainstorm ways your company can improve and prevent the situation from occurring again. It’s not enough to just listen to customers; you should always be improving in order to better serve your customers in the future.
The goal here is not to police every comment, post, or review; but to remember that creating a positive customer experience should be at the forefront of your business. You should both thank your raving fans for their business, and acknowledge valid complaints from dissatisfied customers. Both interactions display an admirable commitment to quality customer service.
Have you ever flipped a negative review or comment into a positive by following the steps above? Tell us about your experience in the comments!