- January 4th, 2011
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I was recently asked a few questions by one of our clients to comment on how a business can deal on social media? Much of this is based on services we provide for our clients.
How important is it for business owners to learn how to manage customer complaints on social media?
It is absolutely crucial that small business owners learn when and how to manage customer service issues on social media. As consumers, we are giving new meaning to the phrase “I want it my way.” In an era of McDonalds Happy Meals and single people getting dates delivered to their email faster than you can blink, our expectations as consumers have gone up. On the flip side, as business owners we have to meet that demand. Your customer may prefer to call your toll-free number or send you an email or chat with you live on your website or send you a message on Twitter. Yes, the list is long. But, the goal is to provide your customers with choices, because as consumers we will settle for nothing less. This doesn’t mean that you have to respond to every message or tweet within seconds. It just means that you are listening to your customers, and making a genuine effort to be of service to them – on the platform of their choice. All good businesses require systems, and offering customer service through social media is no exception to the rule.
If we see something negative, we are much more likely to believe it as true vs. when we see something positive. A negative comment, when truly constructive, can be a great opportunity for the business to “walk the walk."
Let’s say an unhappy customer posts negative comments on what should be a business owner’s first steps?
The first step when faced with a negative comment is to analyze it. Is the complaint truly constructive, and is this truly a distraught customer you are dealing with? Unfortunately, this is becoming a larger issue. In which scenario, I’d recommend responding promptly and courteously to the customer. At the end of the day, people realize that businesses make mistakes because human beings run them. They will judge you (the small business owner) based on how you deal with a situation, vs. the situation itself. I am more impressed when a business or individual takes the time to say “sorry, let us make it better” vs. turning a blind eye.
Are there any “golden rules” or “best practices” business owners should follow when monitoring social complaints and dealing with them?
When we work with our Back 2 Basics Marketing clients, we ask them to follow some Golden rules. 1) Work on building a positive brand before you need it. A restaurant that gets just two negative reviews is going to feel the pinch a lot more than a restaurant that has thirty positive and two negative reviews. Encourage your happy customers and clients to share their experiences online. 2) Make the most of free websites like socialmention.com to keep a check on your brand. Even a weekly search will do. 3) Do not censor truly constructive comments – even if they are negative in nature. Feel free to delete (when on your website or Fan Page), comments that are cruel, discriminatory, violent, or vulgar. If you have a Facebook Fan Page, take the time to create a Fan Page policy – one that clearly states the intent of your online platform (customer service and feedback for example) and what you will not tolerate. Then, you can deal with the comments and interaction there based on your pre-set policy.
How can businesses turn these negative situations into positive ones—and ultimately protect their integrity?
By cultivating positive relationships online and offline, and dealing with the negative comments and complaints in a timely and courteous manner. For information on Back 2 Basics Marketing social media services and how we can help lighten your load, call us at 636.293.5958 or check out our website at www.back2basicsmarketing.com or Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/#!/