Keeping your customers happy is one of the undeniable necessities of running a business. But even if you pride yourself on dispensing world-class service day in, day out, there are always going to be naysayers who feel they’ve been let down. The internet makes it easier than ever to recruit business, but it also remains an open forum for dissatisfied customers to let their feelings be known. Our advice today is simple: deal with unhappy customers quickly and efficiently by following these 6 steps.
You can’t deal with customers you can’t see
First, if you don’t know what customers are saying, you can’t fix your mistakes. This advice seems simple enough, but too many business owners dig their heels in and refuse to look at what’s being said.
Ensure you keep tabs on your social media feeds daily. The world of social media moves at breakneck speed and you can’t afford to be inattentive. In addition, register your business on VavaVox and get full access to our reporting tools, allowing you to know exactly when a client reviews your service.
Let customers know you appreciate feedback
One of the best things you can do as a business is let your customers know you’re listening to them and that you appreciate their feedback. Concentrate on two or three different social media channels and monitor feedback through them. It’s important not to spread yourself too thin.
Is VavaVox a social media channel? Of course. It’s a public platform designed for conversations online, but is focused on fostering business relationships, giving it an edge over Twitter or Facebook.
There’s nothing wrong with sending out a reminder email or ‘poke’ to your clients either. We’re often doing it on behalf of businesses we represent. Letting your customers know you’re looking for feedback and appreciate their opinion is perfectly valid.
Decisiveness is everything. There’s no point hanging around. If you have a customer that is unhappy, reply immediately. Better yet, find out what their phone number is so that you can phone them and resolve the issue telephonically.
A phone call works wonders and is an excellent way to get things resolved immediately and in a personal manner. Thereafter, reply to them over the social media channel and confirm that the problem was sorted.
Remember, everyone is human and most people understand that mishaps happen. The difference between good businesses and the ordinary ones is in the way they handle these mishaps. Evidence confirms that the companies that sort the issue out quickly actually benefit from the mistake arising in the first place.
Solve the issue, don’t hide it
Unless the complaint is inflammatory by nature, don’t be tempted to delete the post. At VavaVox, we’re so committed to transparency we’ve disabled the option to delete something entirely. And with good reason. Trying to hide posts on Facebook only serves to enrage the complainant further. Trust us: they’ll redouble their efforts to be heard in the future, and you’re essentially creating a recipe for splash damage, heightening the negativity that arises from it.
As Dave Kerpen from INC.com puts it: “If you delete a complaint on your blog or Facebook page or elsewhere, that’s the opposite of good customer service. That’s telling the customer that he or she doesn’t matter, and it’s inviting him or her to find another forum and get louder somewhere else.”
Make it right
As Social Media Examiner explains, apologies are all fine and well, but actually fixing the problem makes the most long-term impact.
A simple, “I’m sorry” is easy to give, but actually fixing the problem will mean the most to your customer, and might even go so far as to turn that dissatisfied client into someone willing to recommend your service to friends and family.
This is also a good opportunity to evaluate your business and the processes that govern it, and find the ‘root cause’ of the problem to ensure it does not happen again.
Never get into a spat
Social Media Examiner continues with this piece of advice: “Any time you win an argument online, you’re losing. All anyone really remembers is that you’re combative.”
There’s simply no point fanning the flames of an argument. You stand to lose far more than the customer ever will. Remember: customers are real people with friends and family. By extension, they’re liable to get over-emotional and unreasonable, but don’t fall into the trap of getting equally heated. Keep it businesslike, keep it logical, and simply resolve the issue.
It might not seem like it at the time, but customer feedback is incredibly useful. A lot of it is badly-worded vitriol, yes, but the message behind the madness often needs to be heard.
Don’t let negative feedback get you down, either. It often shows that customers care; that they want to put their full faith into your enterprise and expect more from you as a result.
Look at negative feedback as an opportunity for your business; an opportunity to demonstrate excellent customer service that turns an unhappy customer into a client more than happy to recommend you via word-of-mouth.