How are you dealing with disgruntled customers? Are you using your social media as a means for customer service?
No matter what kind of business you own or how high you value customer service, there will always be at least one disgruntled, unhappy customer. Whether a fault of your own or a complete misunderstanding beyond your control, that customer will go home and tell everyone they know.
In the past, this was unfortunate and unwanted, but it wasn’t too problematic for a business’s image. Although word of mouth is a very strong and effective means of delivering a harsh message, it is quite limited by your surroundings and may lose traction somewhere. The emergence of social media has given people power. Like an ideal democracy, everyone is a critic and everyone has a voice.
With the advent of social media, that same disgruntled customer may go on Facebook and post a status update blasting your business, tweet rage-filled 140 character digressions or, worse, go on Yelp! and write a review. Instead of a few people getting an earful, you now have hundreds of people seeing and hearing that your business was terrible.
In a world where, as social media expert and coach, Frank J. Kenny puts it, “95% of people are imitators and 5% are initiators,” those words and ramblings may carry some weight. For a more established business that has years of credibility, backing and positive social proof, this may not be a problem. However, new businesses may crash and burn with every negative comment.
Thus, it is vital for companies to stomp on that lit match before the whole forest goes up in flames. Yelp! is an amazing place for a business. Most of my food decisions come from analyzing reviews. A store that has 3 stars will always lose to a 4 star. It’s like putting a random stranger in a dunk contest against Michael Jordan. No contest.
Yelp! is becoming one of those nonsense words that, like Google, is quite versatile with meaning and function. You can tell something has been infused into our culture when its name also refers to the action. I am Yelping it right now. Go Yelp! some reviews.
If you haven’t done so already, make sure that you claim your business on Yelp! and other various sites. Yelp! and sites like it are consumer-generated. All this requires is for you to sign up for a business account and then go through various verification processes that include using an automated system. Once you do this, you will be able to fill in the store hours, bio and photos.
There is nothing you can do to avoid or remove a hateful comment unless it’s spam. No matter how false or outrageous the review is, avoid arguing with the customer. Businesses will always lose that battle. It is important to remember that people often tend to write reviews in a fever—either they are in love or full of rage, so it’s understandable to see reviews on opposite spectrums.
Yelp! allows users to privately message one another. If you do see a negative comment, try to reach out to that user and mend the problem. Maybe there is something you can still do to salvage the relationship. Offer some deals, promotions or coupons to win them back. Bridges don’t have to be burned and comments can be edited by the user.
Also remember that Yelp! is not only for restaurants. Any kind of business can be reviewed and claimed on Yelp!
Message Me on Facebook
Social media offers businesses and users a wide array of platforms to communicate and interact. With the change to Facebook Timeline, users can now directly message fan pages. This changes how people deal with customer service. Make sure that you have this feature toggled on in your page settings. It is very useful. With any kind of messaging, try to be very prompt with your replies. Waiting longer than a day to get back to a customer may not be the best decision. Try to take a few minutes at the end or the beginning of every day to check your social media. The key to satisfying customers is a courteous and timely reply.
Use your time on Facebook to thank people, rewards others and to send out promotions. There are many ways to show your appreciation. Be creative!
Encourage More Reviews
There are plenty of opportunities for more good reviews and Facebook likes. When you see that customers are happy with the food and level of service, encourage them to go like your page or write a review. Incentivize these actions by adding discounts and other neat freebies. Everything adds to your social proof. Many people will judge your business far before ever stepping foot in it. The power of words has been transferred to the people and it’s your job to make sure that they have only words of praise. It all starts with customer service—before, during and long after they utilize your business.