5 ways to respond to unhappy customers and improve your company’s reputation
Before the Internet, a customer called or visited a business to complain. The only people to hear the angry customer’s complaints were the customers in the store at that time who may gossip to their neighbor about the incident. As a result, there was little negative effect on the business due to a customer’s frustration.
Now that unhappy consumers can take their complaints online, it’s a different story entirely.
When customers complain, they don’t spread the news by personally telling 10 people. Instead, they post their complaints on sites such as Facebook, Yelp, Google + and even Twitter. One comment attracts several others and has the potential to reach millions of people. As a business owner, what can you do?
The first step is to make unhappy customers your number one priority, doing what you can to make sure they don’t post a negative review about your business. In the event you are dealing with an angry customer, always address the individual with kindness. If a person posts a negative review or complaint about your business online, here are some useful strategies you can use:
Automate the customer review process.
Invest in an automated system that notifies you when a customer has posted a review about your business. Online review management software allows you to send customers a request for a review. And, it gives your customers options to post their reviews on several different review sites.
If they do post negative feedback, the system provides them with an option to post on review sites that people rarely visit to search for reviews. If customers leave positive reviews, the opposite happens, and they get sites such as Yelp and Facebook, thereby pushing your more positive reviews and comments to the top of the search engine listings.
Be gentle with your responses.
When you read a negative review about your business, it often leaves you fuming. Your anger is certainly just, but you don’t want to lose a customer or create a bad impression for others. You should pause to regain your composure, and then respond to the customer with kindness and sincerity: “We apologize about your bad experience with us. How may we fix the situation?” or “To make it up to you, we can offer you a discount on your next purchase with us.”
Think with your head and not your heart. Your heart will want to rip the bad reviewer’s comment to shreds, but your head will want you to maintain a good relationship with the customer.
Think human, not robot.
Put yourself in the shoes of the customer to see how you would like the company to handle the situation. When you draft a reply, make sure you put some human elements in the response. A robotic reply will not appease your customers and may only fuel their anger. Be as humane and sincere as possible with your responses.
Reply to most reviews.
If you are unable to respond to every review on the site, employ someone to do it. The reviews you shouldn’t reply to are those from people who seem inexplicably prejudice toward your business or those who are making unreasonable requests that you can’t fulfill. Train your employees to identify comments such as these and avoid responding. Also, instruct employees how to handle general complaints, such as accidentally charging someone too much for his or her food – perhaps by apologizing and giving the customer’s money back or offering a free meal.
Make customer satisfaction your mission.
Make customers your business’s top priority. Tell your employees that even if they have to go the extra mile to make sure a customer leaves satisfied, they should. Adopt customer satisfaction practices such as sending flowers, upgrading shipping or offering refunds. You can also tell your employees to think outside the box when trying to please customers. When your business focuses all their efforts on ensuring the happiness of its customers, reviewers are sure to celebrate the company’s customer-centric approach on review sites.
It’s difficult for businesses to keep track of everything being said about them on the Internet. But it’s critical to manage and control the reviews and complaints in order to protect your brand and reputation. Take control of your online reviews today with ReviewMaxer. This powerful, cloud-based software provides its users with a proactive review strategy to quickly and easily manage reviews and comments from more than 500 sites. Sign up for a free demo to see how the ReviewMaxer software works and read the blog for more tips and resources to protect your company’s reputation and strengthen your business.
Photo credit: 123RF Stock Photo
Written by: Paul Cook