Uh oh, you got a negative review. What do you do now?
As you know, relationships are messy! Building your business and your brand using social media doesn’t come without its share of messiness. Putting your business and your brand out there on social media in order to gain trust and loyalty, certainly makes you more vulnerable. We can hope that the only response you get from your customer base and followers are positive (fingers crossed), but the reality is that there will be errors, and there will always be squeaky wheels, (you know, that customer who is rarely satisfied, and a little annoying). It is important to consider what you should do and maybe, more importantly, what shouldn’t you do, when you get customer feedback.
When you’re responding to feedback, make sure to give yourself some time to calm down if you’re angry. Take a walk around the block, or maybe write that really angry response (but don’t send it) and then start over with the response you want to publish. Remember that you’re not just responding to that one person, you’re responding to everyone who will see the original review/comment, and your follow-up, your relationship with the original person might be lost, but there’s a lot of opportunity to influence the other people who will read the reviews.
Are you for real?
First of all, determine which of the comments and complaints are from real people with real issues. Ask yourself whether the reviewer is a true customer and whether their complaint is a valid complaint. It is best to be old school and assume that the customer/audience is always right, but be aware of the ones who just want to rock the boat, complainers and people who just have too much time on their hands because your time is valuable, too. If the complaints are invalid or from an unreliable source, address it factually and quickly; then move on.
Is it too late to say I’m sorry?
In the world of social media, it is never too early to say you’re sorry. When you have a valued and loyal customer who presents a complaint or review, address it as quickly as possible, we recommend within 24 hours. And, apologizing and validating customer complaints will show your customers that you really care. The one caveat is your apologies must be genuine. And remember, a “but” statement at the end totally negates an apology.
Fix It, friend!
Fixing the problem or offering a solution will go a long way in creating a positive experience for your clients. Most people understand that getting it wrong, and/or making mistakes is going to happen (we’re all people, right?) but how you resolve the problem can go a long way in, not only keeping your current customers happy, but bringing in new ones.
Don’t be an ostrich
Don’t hide your head in the sand. You can’t ignore the negative feedback and hope that everyone else does, too. Unfortunately, you can’t erase and block every negative response either. You have to address the issues and find solutions so that your business can continue to grow its base of loyal and happy customers. A lack of response is bound to be more damning than most any response. It is best to handle the conflict swiftly, sincerely and thoroughly.
Relationships are what make the world go around and make businesses grow and prosper. Social media relationships are no exception and take a lot of work, but, they are worth it in the end.