Customer Reviews: Can We Get Any Love From Online Haters?
- August 29, 2016
- Posted by: Connie C.
- Category: Branding, Social Media
Business owners all over the world share a common love: when we receive raving accolades of appreciation and satisfaction from customers, it gives us the fuel to keep serving. But we also share a universal frustration when some customer spews a horrid review across the online world reaching thousands if not millions in one short moment.
When those kinds of reviews surfaced, I know that you may have thought about the famously crooned lines of the Wicked Witch of the West, “I’ll get you my pretty.” You could’ve even pictured yourself beating them up with a broomstick while you belted out, “I’ll get you even if I report your content as inappropriate,” followed by a wicked villainous laugh. The scenario has crossed my mind plenty of times while my fingers heavily clanked the keyboard finessing a publicly gracious reply back.
Social media is both a tech blessing and a curse; all nicely bundled into one giant interconnected platform. It’s great for companies and customers alike to share wonderful updates, new finds, and other viable newsworthy information. But is also serves as a soapbox for our haters to share their bad experiences with the world.
I’ve come across many companies that apply the hide under the desk strategy. They hope and pray that no one-star review show up or a thumbs down icon will be plastered somewhere on their page. I hate to be the one to break it to you, here’s a reality check.
One, this is the worst losing strategy, “tucking your head in the sand” will not prevent negative reviews. Secondly, it is merely impossible to please every customer and lastly, the great news is, there’s a way to breakthrough and even turn your hater into your raver.
1. Speedy Response
In this digital savvy age, we are all trained for instant gratification. When customers post a negative review, respond to it quickly and not five days later. This makes your angry customer feel like they are being heard. Most of the time when a customer complains, they want to know that their message wasn’t bestowed upon a digital labyrinth, so a timely response is important. It’s just like when you have a lover’s quarrel and your significant other pretends like they don’t hear you, it makes you even more pissed, so don’t do it to your customers.
2. Do Not Engage in Online Warfare
Leave the fighting for knights on the battlefield. No matter how much your inner voice tells you to go off on the customer, do not engage! Don’t send irate messages after another defending your product or service. The general rule is to send only two messages. The first message should always thank them for their feedback, followed by asking their permission to take the conversation to direct message. Twitter wars can break companies. Everyone eventually looks petty in online warfare. Take a breath and realise this isn’t a personal attack (even if it kind of is). Remember you have your reputation to uphold. Reputations can win wars.
3. Be the Hero, not the Zero
Once you have taken the message away from the public eye, this is your opportunity to shine. Make sure you allow the customer to vent out all his/her frustrations. Afterwards, your job is to let them feel that you understand them and offer a solution. The right solution can turn an unpleasant experience into one that is highly pleasurable. If you do this right with couth and sensitivity you are guaranteed to have a happy customer for life. The irony is that these same haters will be the same customers that will advocate your brand.
4. Right Your Wrongs
When companies get bad reviews too often they fix the problem with one customer but not within their own company. So please make the world of commerce a happier place by righting the wrongs. Sometimes, more often than not, the customer is always right. Remember you are servicing or providing a product to your customers. You are meant to be giving them what they want and if you are not achieving that, they will look somewhere else.
5. Peace Offerings
The time has come to extend an olive branch but you have no idea what to give your angry customer. We encourage you to get creative, even if you go beyond the call of duty as long as you are not giving away the store. If your customer was upset at you for a faulty product then offer to replace it with another one and ship it to them for free. If they were dissatisfied with a service you can ask the customer if she/he would be willing to have the same service free of charge or would they rather try a different service.
6. Secret Powers of Following Up
Now this is the bonus part if your customer decides to take you up on your make-good offer, remember to follow up. You want to know if your business exceeded their expectations. The act of following up accomplishes a few things: it’s another opportunity for feedback, it shows customers that you actually care about their experience and finally it builds back trust just because you took the time out to simply ask, “So how did it all go? What are your thoughts?”
The next time a hater spews digital venom, don’t let your Wicked Witch of the West come across the screen. Instead, all business owners let’s pinky swear and take a secret vow to always allow our inner princesses and princes to shine through. So say after me, “I realised that the world will always have haters but because of my dashing digital presence these haters will become my ravers!”
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