Recently I went to a business convention and got amused at the sign posted in front of a firm. It read ‘Unhappy with our service? Lets us know. If satisfied and happy, just tell others.’
It intrigued me.
Various customers use different means to react when they are unsatisfied with your products and services. Some might walk away without informing, and they never return. On the other hand, some will notify you what the issue is and that too in a polite and pleasant manner. But there are irate customers too, who vent out their anger when they are dissatisfied with the services and products.
They won’t mind in creating a scene and most of the time; their concerns are quite genuine. Even if it is not, they still need an outlet to display their anger. Such people will disrupt the atmosphere of your business and even can scare the customers. There are chances that they might inflict physical damages to you or your staff, and even to your clients. All this, just to draw attention.
Social media services for business – a Factosocial 101 infographic clearly shows how much influence social media sites have on customer retention. No doubt, social media platforms are the best place for customers to vent out their anger and frustration, as they get faster replies and support too.
Dealing With Aggravated Customers
How do you respond to clients who are unhappy?
Frankly, no matter what industry you are in or what you sell, the negative word of mouth experience is something you won’t be able to avoid. These customers are expressing their complaints and concerns on social media, and there is nothing much you can do to prevent them from publicizing the issue.
It happens. Things break, and problems occur. Employees go through a bad day. This is common for most businesses, but it is how you are going to handle the issue, which separates you from the rest.
Just keep in mind that negative word of mouth is not wrong, it is an opportunity to show what card you have up your sleeve. An impressive response tactic with customers can make them raving and loving fans especially those who were previously angry and agitated.
There is a rule of thumb which states that customers will complain about your business to 6 people if there are unhappy with your service while the ones whom you win back will talk to 10 people. So just get out and embrace the negativity.
Check out the ten steps you can take to dispose the negative reviews and earn new fans and get tons of respects.
1) Is It Worth To Respond?
One thing you need to realize is that not all negative comments are worth to respond. Also, not all critics are worth to win over. It can be hard just to let go of such comments, but the best thing you can do is move on. If the criticism is present on a small forum or blog, then your response will bring more attention and credibility to an issue that nobody saw in the first place. Frankly, there is no method to win in such situations. So, it is better if you stay out, forget and keep your head up and think about the wrongs you can make right.
2) Don’t Respond To Invisible Conversations
Do you know that a great response begins with proper listening?
Just follow some of the given steps –
- Keep a close watch on your Facebook page
- Create Google Alerts for your industry keywords and brands
- Based on the kind of business you are doing, try to read the reviews posted on websites like TripAdvisor, Yelp, and others.
- Check your Twitter account regularly
- Keep a list of all the communities and forums that your customers congregate at and check them constantly.
3) Respond Like A Normal Human
Ignoring an upset customer is the worst thing that you can do. The same can be said about answering in a canned corporate response. If you think they were mad before, wait until the reaction they give for the excerpt of the fine print and policy terms.
Make sure to show empathy, interact in a friendly manner and tone. And always use your real name and avoid pseudo names. If there is an option to post your picture in the forum, use the actual one. It is easy to scream and yell at some anonymous firm. However, when someone comes up and tells “Hi, I am Sandra and I am sorry for the issue..” it just changes everything.
So what happens is that the irritated customer will realize that he or she was not shouting at a big, faceless corporate. All the yelling was directed to Sandra. Quickly, the anger fades and you will immediately get an apology.
4) Give A Fast Response
One thing you need to keep in mind is that while you are facing a negative word of mouth, time plays a significant factor and it is not on your side. Now the longer you wait to give a response, the angrier the customer will become. And other will pick up on that issue and will immediately spread all kinds of negative buzz.
The best thing you can do is introduce yourself and try to get the attention of the customer. For example, you can say “Hi, my name is Mark Bennet, and I hear you. We are aware of your issue and looking into it now. I will get back to you as soon as possible and if you have any queries and questions, just contact me at …..”
Such kind of message can do two things –
- The irritated customer will know she or he has your attention. So, there is less chance for spreading the anger.
- A real person with a real contact detail is made available. So, if the customer is still angry, there is a specific place to vent out the anger and frustration rather than doing it online.
5) Apologize And Try To Make It Right
The best method to turn around the negative word of mouth is apologizing. However, to fix the problem, you need to know how to win over critics. It is common for us to make mistakes but it is how we fix them which people remember.
6) Give A Proper Apology Or Don’t Apologize At All
A direct and strong apology will give more respect than a ‘kinda-sorta’ and flimsy one. You need to show the customer that you regret such an experience they had to go through. Try to make it more personal rather than beating around the bush.
Just check out the difference between the apologies like “We are so sorry you feel that way” to “Apologize for the inconvenience caused …..and make sure that it never occurs in the future”. The first apology gives a picture that you are aware that customer had an inconvenience, but you are not responsible for that.
While the second apology is direct. It shows that you understand the difficulty the customer has to go through. Plus, you would make sure that it never happens again.
7) Avoiding Fighting Online
Just remember that if you win an argument online, you are losing. People will remember that you are combative and rude. However, it does not mean that you mustn’t respond. Try to explain the side of your story and begin a conversation with the customer. You have to be in the right mindset so that you can convince and pacify the client.
Avoid being emotional and keep in mind that you are dea
ling with a real person. Just like how they see you as a faceless firm, in the same way, you can see them as another complainer. The complainer is doing you a favor. He or she is assisting you in making your company better.
8) Allow Moaners To Take Part In The Fix
If any person is criticizing you, just think of it as a form of tough love. It is because they care and they can see the potential and want you to do better. So, instead of thinking of them as critics, look at them as frustrated fans that can provide some interesting ideas.
You can use a platform like IdeaStorm to get your users to pinch in ideas. But giving your biggest critics a means to get involved is best. You can invite your customers to the beta test of new products; take part in the discussion of the customary advisory board and even for the brainstorming sessions.
9) Get The Assistance Of Third-Party Sources and Fans
What you tell about yourself is not as much powerful as what others say about you. This is true and effective when people are calling you out and when they are promoting you. Besides experts, the voice of fans can be a great advantage. Of course, you don’t want them to be in an uncomfortable situation; however, there is no harm in asking help at times from them.
10) Formulate An Open Discussion
When negative issues crop up, you will immediately move the conversation offline. Now by doing so, others cannot see the entire effort you have put in for fixing the issue. Nobody can see the private emails in which you have sincerely apologized. Others cannot see the chat or emails you have communicated with the customer informing about why the situation had occurred in the first place and what steps you are going to take to rectify it.
If this is done online, you earn the word of mouth. So, for the same cost and effort, millions of people can see how much you care about your customers. Also, it saves the time and communication on all those individuals who might call or send an angry post for the answers to the same question.
There is no efficient method of marketing than from the words of satisfied customers. Also, in the same way, there is no better means of driving away customers from the rants of unsatisfied customers. Frankly, customers are the lifeline of a business, and a satisfied customer means a loyal one. This will ensure that the business will continue to prosper as years pass by.
Sandra Christie is a social media writer at iDigic.net who also contributes for hundreds of other blogs. Her articles predominantly focus on social media marketing and are widely followed by readers from all over the world.