Having to live with the opinions of Internet users. Oy! It’s quite a challenge in our day and age where anyone can have their say on anything. For businesses and entrepreneurs, which never know when a negative comment is going to show up, this reality is particularly stressful. So much so that some organizations believe it would be easier to remove the “Write a comment” option under their posts.
They are well intentioned, but they eventually find out that everything will be even worse.
Imagine trying to talk to a supervisor in a store to let him know that his product is not working and seeing him yelling back nananana with both hands pressed on his ears… Talk about awkward!
Reviews are part of customer service. You cannot live in denial of what your customers think about your business. And people are wary of buying online, so it’s imperative to remind people that you are an honest company that exists and responds to its customers, even online.
The dos and don'ts.
1. Do NOT be defensive.
First understand that the attack is not sent to you personally. It’s addressed to your business and most people even expect to pass it on to a team of social media managers.
- Always assume that the client’s tone is constructive and informative.
- Take it as a free case study that identifies things to improve in your business.
- Bring out the facts and list them in a neutral way: long delivery, damaged bottle, cold food, etc. These are all points on which you can improve or compensate the customer.
This is often why someone lets you know that the product or service was not to their liking: compensation. And this is not necessarily in order to enjoy or receive free goods: it is normal for someone who paid for something to want to enjoy the full quality the product was supposed to offer. After all, aren’t we spending to meet a need? If that need has not been met, it’s normal for the person to feel the NEED to let you know.
What to do then?
- Put yourself in the person’s shoes and develop a solution with them.
- Be open to improvement and say “thank you for your comment” instead of “you’re right, but …”.
- Stay professional and prioritize apology over justification. You can even take the opportunity to praise the positive aspects of your business.
- Offer a choice of resolutions. This will give the client the feeling that they have resolved the conflict through their interaction and will encourage them to make a decision rather than defend themselves.
For example: “Hello, we have read your comment and are sorry our products did not meet your expectations. We take the satisfaction of our customers to heart and we assure you that we take the situation seriously. In our willingness to satisfy our loyal customers, we can offer you a refund OR store credit that will allow you to appreciate the full quality of our products. Thank you for your relevant comment. Best regards! ”
Yada yada yada …
2. Do NOT ignore.
Do not close the door on someone trying to reach you even if the comment is rude. It will only justify the person in their opinion and it may even discredit you in front of your other customers, who will seek to know your return policy. Again, it’s not what happened that matters: it’s how the situation was resolved. For example, if a waitress drops a dish on you, would you like to be ignored? I DON’T THINK SO !
Do: Have the person contact you or your customer support team to confidentially resolve the case.
3. Do NOT do this in public.
Like many things that can’t be named here, we don’t do this in front of everyone. No one likes to see people insulting each other online but it’s a bit like a car crash: no one can really look away…
Do: Invite the person to join you in a private message to resolve any issues. People are much less likely to fight if they don’t have an audience to boost their ego.
WARNING ! ALWAYS assume the conversation is recorded, because anything online is shared. Stay specific and professional.
4. Do NOT beg for good feedbacks to make up for bad ones.
Sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised. The best comments are those that are natural, sincere and initiated by the client. Also, don’t run a contest where people have to leave a positive product review, as that tends to confuse your customers about your sincerity.
Do: Encourage people to comment by interacting with them instead. Respond positively to good comments.
TIPS AND TRICKS :
If you see a recurring positive interaction from a loyal customer, feel free to write them privately to let them know that you appreciate their loyalty. You may think that replying privately cuts you off from visibility, but you’d be surprised how someone who feels important will share your post.
Use bad feedback as opportunities for learning and improvement. Several big companies today (Apple, Lego, Volks, Nintendo, Old Spice, Starbucks, Marvel, etc.) have been swept up in scandals in the past and have risen from their ashes even stronger. It’s always possible to get up, to reinvent yourself and to learn. Otherwise, there’s always a good, scathing cue to silence a Troll. And at least it will do YOU good!