Not everyone takes criticism well. But as a business owner, you have to realize that it’s a learning experience and something that can make you better and stronger for similar situations in the future. And you have to realize just how easy it is for unhappy customers to scar your company’s image today if a situation isn’t handled promptly and correctly.
All it takes is a quick post to Facebook or Twitter and the storm begins. If you respond quick enough and handle the situation well then it could actually have a happy ending. But if you don’t, you risk not just losing that customer, but their friends and other potential customers. Especially if that post ends up getting a lot of attention or even going viral – as we’ve all seen happen.
A Simply Measured study reveals that 30 percent of top brands have developed a team that’s dedicated to monitoring and managing customer service on Twitter. On average, it takes about five hours for a response to be made. Merely ten percent of those teams will respond to the customer within an hour.
You might think it’d simply take too much time to manage complaints and inquiries on social media. But it really doesn’t. Take an hour each morning to check for mentions of your business. Or do so in 15 minute increments throughout the day.
Or to avoid wasting time checking for things that may not be there, keep an ear to the ground by using Google Alerts, Trackur or SocialMention. That way you can be notified whenever there’s something said about your business and you can respond.
Keep in mind also, that having good reviews about your business online can dramatically increase the trust potential customers have in you. It will also increase the chance that they see something good instead of any bad reviews that might be out there. The more positive reviews you have, the better the chances they’ll show up in Google search. Orange Fox for more information on bad reviews and how you can fix them.
But with the good, there will almost always be bad. So with that in mind, here are four super important things to remember when handling comments and reviews online…
Answer All Comments and Reviews
Having a strong online presence gives you a great opportunity to create, grow and maintain relationships with customers. If they’re taking time out of their day to leave a review or comment, then they deserve the courtesy of a response. Don’t you think? That means you should not only respond to negative comments to resolve the situation, but you should also respond to positive ones to thank them. Consistently responding shows you respect and appreciate them, which will naturally add to and build your reputation over time.
Be Careful When Responding to Negative Reviews or Comments
Negative comments could be made for any number of reasons. Sure, sometimes it may be a competitor or someone just trying to get under skin. But you can’t let that happen. Each case should be treated with care and caution. If it’s truly an upset customer, remedying the situation obviously important. You don’t want to get into a debate or who’s right or blame them in any way. That won’t fix anything and it’ll reflect poorly on you.
But even if it’s a competitor or someone you suspect is just trying to cause problems, responding politely in a suitable manner will make your business look good too. If you respond in a manner that makes you look angry or as if you’re trying to justify what happened, you’ll probably lose the trust of anyone who comes across the conversation.
So if you tend to be hot-headed, let someone else handle it or at least wait until you’ve had time to take a breather and relax. Apologize for whatever it is that happened. Clearly let them know you understand the problem and what you’re doing to fix it. If it’s something that simply can’t be fixed, the fact that you’re acknowledging and showing you care about what happened goes a long way in and of itself.
Fight the Temptation to Pay for Positive Reviews
Some business owners think “Hey, I know getting good reviews online is important, but our customers just aren’t doing it… Why don’t we just offer to pay them a fee if they’ll leave us a good review”
Don’t go down that road. Unless you want to run the risk of some serious repercussions. The FTC clearly states that if you pay someone or offer any incentive for a review, they have to disclose that in the review. What are the odds that they’ll come after you? Not very high probably. But should they choose, you could find yourself being made an example out of.
But it doesn’t have to be them either. Your reputation could easily get flushed down the drain if you’re caught using or posting fake or paid reviews. Yelp made quite a few headlines making an embarrassing example out of businesses they caught getting fake reviews posted on their site.
So it should go without saying that you shouldn’t hire “review writers” from companies that offer this service, which is actually a rapidly growing industry.