The integrity of a brand is more important now than ever. Research by the Sprout Social Index shows that millennials are the most likely people to call out brands on social media, with almost 60% of this group having already complained about an issue with a brand online at some point, including posting reviews.
This means that the internet has turned into a major means of customer service, and with its instant nature, you need to be on top of it. If you’re slow to respond, respond incorrectly, or – even worse – don’t respond at all, you can deflate the trust your customers have in you. It can be a little difficult to navigate the feedback and reviews that get posted, so here are a few tips:
If your company made a mistake with an order, a customer had a poor interaction with an employee or a particular service wasn’t up to your company’s standards – make sure you acknowledge your misgivings and apologize. Most of the time, people who complain about a company online are simply looking for validation. Offering a heartfelt apology and taking responsibility for the issue will suffice enough for them to move on from what’s been bugging them. Apologies are free and simple to give, especially if the customer provides proof. Don’t worry, you won’t look bad – you’ll look honest. Potential customers browsing your review page will take notice of how much you care.
If a customer has a legitimate complaint, make sure you offer them a solution to make it right in addition to taking responsibility. This can include a free meal on the house next time they visit, a free replacement or even a generous coupon code for a future order. Whatever you chose to do, make sure it’s something good enough to keep them coming back. If you’re worried about people taking advantage of this, you can privately message them to make this offer. They will appreciate that you took the extra time to reach out personally!
Taking way too long to address a customer’s concern will only inflate the issue. Make sure you spend some time every day looking at all your different platforms, such as Facebook and Yelp, to check for any new messages or reviews. Ideally, you should be responding within a couple of hours, if not the same day. If you don’t have time to do this, make sure you hire a social media manager to handle it for you. The cost of a social media manager is tiny in comparison to the many customers you could potentially lose to not being responsive. If you’re not sure where to get started, we can help you!
If you’re only responding to negative reviews and feedback, this can come off as not being appreciative to the customers who go out of their way to praise you. People are much more likely to go online to complain rather than to give praise, so make sure you thank the people who are doing that. It can be as simple as liking a post, typing a quick “Thank you!” or even some smiley face and heart emojis. A little bit goes a long way, and it will encourage more positive feedback to happen on your page if people see that you appreciate it. They’re giving you a free testimonial, after all!