Your Web Foot Print Matters: Dealing with Online Customer Complaints
Let’s face it: nobody is really good at being receptive to criticism—especially criticism that is delivered in a manner that is more of an attack than anything else. However, that is exactly what we see more often than not from dissatisfied customers who go online to vent about their less-than-desired experiences with our products or services.
Although you cannot avoid criticism and as much as you would like to, you also cannot change what people are saying about you and your company—at least not directly. What you can do is change what people are saying indirectly though.
How? By responding instead of reacting.
Reacting to Negative Feedback is Dangerous for Your Business
When we react to someone, we make an immediate judgment about the information we are putting into our minds (aka the negative review) and the first thing that comes to mind is often what happens next. This is an example of reacting and can be incredibly dangerous.
Here is an excellent example. On Valentine’s Day there was a popular story that was being spread primarily on Facebook about a flower shop in Cullman, Alabama. Long story short, according to the customer the company “stole” a necklace that was supposed to be delivered with a bouquet from a father oversees to his little girl.
Regardless of the specifics of the story, the company actually fought back via Facebook and even posted the customer order form on the internet. Even if the company was in the right, this was very much reacting and not responding.
What was the result? A quick look at Google reviews and you will see a score of 6/30—a ridiculously low rating. In fact, on Valentine’s Day the rating was 0/30—months later and the score has only increased to a 6/30. This story is one of many that shine light on the power of your online interactions. Reacting is very dangerous and can essentially destroy your business’s online credibility.
Responding Increases Your Business’s Reputation
On the other hand, if this business would have simply bit the bullet and made things right with the customer, the correspondence online would have been much more positive and the business may now have a much better online reputation than its current reputation.
In essence, if the business owner and employees would have chosen to respond instead of react, things probably would have turned out differently for everyone involved.
In conclusion, when it comes to customer interactions, especially online, it is incredibly important that you respond instead of react. Responding can increase your client base as customers begin to trust you, while responding can ruin your reputation completely.
What will you do the next time you get negative customer feedback? Think and respond—never react.
Author bio: Nicole Beachum has been helping small to medium businesses transform their online presence through high-quality, original website content, blogs, social media postings, digital public relations, digital media, sales letters, and other digital reach methods since 2008.
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