We all feel that our business or company has its weak points, but for the most part, "We are good people" and "how could anyone ever be upset with us?!" No matter WHAT we THINK about ourselves, there is ALWAYS someone that would disagree, and they will take the time to say it publicly in any one of MANY portals like FaceBook or Twitter, and of course, a myriad of "Review" sites! Its hard to defend without being emotional or desperate to repair the potential damage.
So someone has just said something bad about your company. Someone reviewed your business and gave you ONE star. These hurt, personally, AND professionally. Now what do you do?
Each particular case has to be approached individually, but for the most part, you respond! Here are the "general" steps to take:
1.) Respond immediately.
No matter how bad the post, the review, or the comment, you should respond quickly and positively! Sympathize with the person but that does not mean admit guilt! It simply means that you want to express that you are sorry that they had an experience that was "less than stellar" or "did not reflect the experience that you strive to achieve for every customer." Use their post as an opportunity to brag about how you want EVERY customer to have a great experience and satisfaction! All other readers will notice your attempt to rectify the situation and will appreciate your efforts.
2.) Reach out to this person privately.
It is best to follow up your public response with a private and personal communication. This will keep the post from escalating in front of others. In this effort, you can discover the weak spots that caused the issue and begin to find a way to repair any damage or identify the TRUE issues. Move the conversation offline as quickly as possible. You don't want an upset customer to "showboat" or "have a stage" will they are in the height of anger. You also want to avoid the "ganging up" of other customers who may have had a "similar" experience. Angry customers may say some pretty mean things! And you certainly don't want to allow YOUR emotions to show either! The best thing to do is to establish a private and clear line of communication with the customer!
3.) Evaluate the public view of the situation
You have to decide that, even if there were some ugly things said, should you leave the post and your immediate response up for others to see. That is a tough question, but if the post and your reaction is something that instills confidence in your customers, you may decide to leave it public. If the post demonstrates that your customer is a "whack-a-doodle" then you also might want to leave it up so that others can sympathize with YOU!
4.) NEVER NEGOTIATE PUBLICLY!
Even though you want to "make everything right" with this upset customer, and you would do ANYTHING to get them to reverse their position, it is best to avoid public compromise. This will only open the door to other negative posts and "whack-o's" thinking (learning) what they can do to get something from you!
5.) Delete and Ban
As a last resort, you may have no other choice but to "ban" a user. Exhaust ALL OTHER avenues first, but sometimes you have to "close the door" and move on. You can spin your wheels in the mud forever and it can become a counter-productive part of your day, week, or heaven forbid, your MONTH! Fix it or move on!
6.) Follow up
Make sure that you document steps taken and procedures that allowed you to de-escalate the situation. If warranted, you may choose to post the situation to show your efforts of customer satisfaction. The most important thing you can do is follow-up with ALL parties involved! Learn from the experience! You will be surprised of how many "negative" situations, with proper care, may turn into some of your BEST selling tools!
7.) Do what you do, the best you can!
You can't make very customer happy, and sometimes you WILL make mistakes. That's OK, but if you do all that you can, remember that EVERY customer is another human being, just like you, and you do what YOU would want done, then everything should work out fine! Keep in mind that most positive statements are NEVER posted and the negative comments seem to get the most attention. If your negative reviews outweigh your business growth, then you have a serious problem and you are probably in the wrong business.
8.) Make Positive Moves
The only way you will change negativity that is by doing a good business practice and encourage positive reviews! If you give someone a great experience (and it must be GREAT) they will respond with something a simple as a smile, or a thumbs-up. Turn these moments into opportunities! Ask the customer if you can "post" them as a spotlight customer! Give them some attention! Grab the positive momentum and RIDE it! The residual of your publicizing these moments will be others seeing that you are making people happy!
Take these 8 steps today and challenge yourself to rescue a bad situation or to showcase a good experience! Either way, stay positive and you will win! Treat customers as YOU would want to be treated in ANY situation, and YOU WILL WIN.
Stay tuned...Without "ME" there is no "customer" is another blog coming soon!