It's a business fact that every now and then something goes awry and a customer ends up being upset.
And when a customer feels your product or service didn't live up to their expectations, sometimes they want to tell the world.
And it's not fun to be on the receiving end. Ego's get bruised, tempers flare and the knee-jerk reaction is to immediately go on the defensive.
However, there's a better way to respond to these situations that will not only save your business reputation but even potentially win back that unhappy customer.
After reading the rest of this article, you'll be better equipped to monitor and manage your brand reputation from negative comments made on social media, forums, review sites and the like. Have you experienced any? Leave a comment below and share your story.
With the age of the Internet, it's so easy for a hot-headed customer to take their grievance online by writing bad reviews. Whether they turn to Twitter or Facebook or leave a comment on review sites like Yelp, Google Places or Yahoo! Local, how you handle this situation makes all the difference to your business reputation.
When a customer doesn't feel their situation is resolved or they have not been listened to, word of mouth can spread like wildfire. I'm sure you've witnessed this many times yourself when a company has seemingly wronged an irate customer and suddenly everyone is adding their story to the mix. It can get ugly very fast.
That's why it's important to handle bad reviews quickly and sensibly to maintain your reputation.
First, let's find out what not to do.
Here are the biggest mistakes business owners make when responding to negative reviews online:
1) They take the review personally, get defensive, and turn it into a shouting match with the customer.
2) They have friends post fake reviews on their behalf.
3) They escalate the situation by denying there was a problem to begin with. Or they make the customer the one to blame, which in turn makes them even more angry resulting in even more of a negative impact.
4) They become downright rude, hurtful, or make snide comments about the customer.
5) They point their fingers and blame something or someone else.
6) They don't monitor their reviews at all and have the attitude, "What I don't know can't hurt me."
So what's the right way to handle bad online reviews?
Here are some tips to monitor and manage your brand reputation:
• Monitor your Online Reputation. Set up Google Alerts for your company name so whenever a new mention of your business appears online, you'll be notified. Hootsuite is another tool that can help you see when customers comment on social media and allows you to respond to comments and complaints in a timely manner.
• Keep Cool. Realize that customer feedback can reveal ways to improve your products and services; try to see the review as an opportunity for improvement. Don't respond if you are feeling angry, hurt, or defensive; wait till you have calmed down and can respond in a professional, courteous, and respectful manner.
• Be grateful and polite. Thank the customer for their loyalty and feedback. Acknowledge the problem, get the facts and show them you have heard their complaint. Explain that it's important to you to resolve their situation and share what you plan to do to make it right.
• Respond publicly. When other customers see how you will go out of your way to make a bad situation right, it keeps their trust. Earning back customer trust after your reputation has been bruised is important, so people want to continue doing business with you.
• Take ownership of the complaint. It's easy to blame someone else on your staff for the blunder or point fingers at failed technology or whatever the case may be. But as a business owner, taking responsibility for the issue and dealing with it in a calm, professional manner will help enhance your brand reputation and convert an unhappy customer into a happy one because they have felt heard.
So the next time you're faced with an unhappy comment online, be thankful for feedback and use it as a learning opportunity.
The right response to a bad review can turn a potential disaster into a real triumph.
When you welcome customer complaints and use it to improve your products and services, it leads to better client satisfaction.
Understanding client's needs with a quick response can help you retain them as a customer. Plus it helps you identify ways to enhance your offerings.
Have you encountered negative reviews about your business yet? How did you handle them?
Susan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a, "all in one" full service boutique web development and digital marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in creating professional brand presences for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.
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