A new ball game just started.
In this digital age the public’s opinion of your business now comes in the form of reviews on so many different platforms, through so many different outlets, and they are available for the entire world to see. They are broadcasted louder than ever – along with your responses. It’s time to remember the saying “your customers are always right.” You would think at a moment when opinions and reviews of businesses are so readily available, more companies would take heed. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. But treating customers and potential clients like redheaded stepchildren will surely end in retribution. And now it comes by way of social Media, Yelp and of course – continued word of mouth. Your business reviews play a large part in the decision making process for potential customers. So take this advise seriously.
It’s happening whether you like it or not.
When you get a positive review, the skies open up, the sun shines bright, and that’s great! You’re happy, the customer is happy, and the world is a beautiful place. It’s good to acknowledge customers for taking the time to do this. But now let’s focus on the not so positive reviews. They are extremely difficult to ignore, and they can leave a lasting impression. One or two will happen, but if you get enough of them, people begin to think twice.
Play along, or sit on the sidelines.
Opinions can make or break your business. In the end, it’s your call on how to handle them. Positive or negative, acknowledge or ignore, your customers’ opinions really can not be avoided. You can’t turn them off. And refraining from participating in outlets like social media is just like leaving the game before it’s over. People will keep playing, they will keep talking, and now you’re not there to make it go in your favor. You’re a businessman or woman for goodness sake!
How bad can it get?
Ever hear of a “Garadget”? This is a garage door opener that your smart phone will control. Simple enough? It should have been. Well, the gadget didn’t work so easy for one unhappy client. And that customer took to social media and unleashed a scathing review. The owner of “Garadget” responded. And it didn’t seem as if he read my blogs. Instead of taking responsibility, the owner angrily lashed out at the customer in response and escalated the situation. He went so far as to disable the customer’s garage door so that he wasn’t able to open it. Not exactly superior customer service, and the internet agreed. The owner’s actions caused his business as well as his personal brand to suffer much public damage. All because he didn’t have a plan for diffusing situations like this.
This may be an extreme example, but even the slightest of unsatisfied customers, coupled with inadequate responses, can result in a loss. In this day and age, a loss is a loss. So, what to do?
Now put the right spin on that ball.
Take pride your business and its customer service. It should be part of your PR and Marketing plan, and this is extremely important. Giving an customers, happy and unhappy ones, reassurance that you’re there for them on any issue should make things right. Acknowledging a positive review or referral is just as important. Many times, just showing that you’re concerned is all your customers want. As always, consider having your social media and marketing outlets professionally managed. Let someone who is unbiased and experienced handle damage control if needed, before personal emotions fuel to the fire. After all, it’s only your company’s reputation. Remember, the customer IS always right. It’s good business.