Satisfied customers are valuable to a business for a number of reasons. Not only are happy customers more likely to shop with you again but they are far more likely to spread positive sentiment about their experience which will help to attract new customers to you.
The true test for any business comes when things go wrong. Rather than seeing this as a negative, tackle it from a different angle and look upon it as an opportunity to shine! Responding to angry customers promptly can help to diffuse potentially difficult situations from developing further. People have high expectations and when they choose to invest in your business (both emotionally and financially), a breach in that trust can very rapidly lead to feelings of dissatisfaction.
Negative sentiment is usually the result of a frustrating problem resolution process.
Unhappy customers will often vent their frustrations on social media or on review websites and make no mistake, negative sentiment has the unwelcome ability to spread like wildfire. The key to managing your reputation online lies in your ability to manage customer expectations and resolve customer service issues efficiently. Social media provides an excellent channel to allow you to do this.
Related Resource from B2CWebcast: PR Hacking: How Ideas Spread And What Marketers Need to Know
By getting in on the conversation as it happens, you can make it easy for a customer to resolve their problem quickly. Do this and you’ll generally succeed in turning a negative experience into a positive one, or at the very least, neutralise that feeling of frustration or anger and stop bad sentiment spreading.
It is now easier than ever for an unhappy customer to write a negative review or comment that thousands of other people will see.
Whilst you may have a long-standing problem resolution process in place, this doesn’t mean that the process is suitable or convenient in the eyes of your customers. Millennials, for example, are highly unlikely to pick up the phone to make a complaint or even to ask a pre-sales question. If a phone call or registering on a support forum is the only option you offer, then your process is likely to create a problem. Force someone down a route they don’t perceive as being convenient and you are immediately planting the seed of a negative customer experience.
These days we are constantly connected, at work via our desktop PC or laptop, at home via our tablets or smart TV and of course, we are connected 24/7 via our smart phones. Social media is always on, always there and use of social media is second nature and the preferred method of communication for a large number of people.
- Make it easy for customers to get their issues resolved by providing multiple contact options to make the process more convenient for them. One of these should be social media.
- When dealing with questions and complaints via social media remain professional at all times and most importantly, show empathy and understanding.
- Offer unhappy customers not just a way to resolve the issue, but also provide them with an incentive to shop with you again. For example to say sorry for a late delivery, refund their shipping costs and give them a discount voucher to use on their next shop.
- Make sure your customer service and problem resolution process is clearly laid out on your website. Not only will this drive trust in your brand and help you convert more prospects, but it actively informs customers of what action they need to take, helping to reduce frustration.
- Don’t be scared of criticism or negative comments; these can present you with a great PR opportunity and should always be addressed – never simply deleted.
- Remember that effective use of social media is a two way process. Use it to have conversations with customers and add value wherever you can.
- Keep customers informed by social media. Will you be shutting up early next Thursday for staff training? Are you currently experiencing high call volumes? Has your website suddenly gone down? Don’t leave your customers guessing, use social media to keep them informed and updated.
- Don’t forget to say thank you to your customers and social media followers; feeling appreciated and valued goes a long way!
- Don’t forget to regularly monitor your social media channels to enable you to keep on top of the communications you are receiving. If people are routinely posting pre-sales questions for example, you want to be in a position to answer as quickly as possible.
- Create a Facebook app page with a copy of your feedback / enquiry / customer complaint form from your website.
- Whilst dealing with complex customer service issues can be difficult (consider Twitters 140 character limit) or downright undesirable (a serious customer service issue where you are at fault won’t look great on your Facebook wall), allow people to use social media as a first point of contact. Then give them more detailed information on how they can get their problem resolved.
- Remind people that you are there to help and encourage them to ask questions.
- If you can’t monitor all of your social media networks throughout the day, hold a regular daily or weekly Q&A session.
- Don’t be afraid to put your hands up, admit a mistake a say sorry. No one’s perfect and admitting a failing may help you seem more human, ultimately enhancing trust in your business.