In short, this is one way to differentiate your business. If you provide speedy, helpful customer service on social media, you’re customers will appreciate it. Just think of how many times customers must have been let down by companies for them to turn away from social media almost completely these last few years. Now is your chance to surprise your customers, and you should take it!
The notion of not being online
On that note, businesses are no longer “not online.” Every single business, whether B2C or B2B, in tourism, real estate, manufacturing or tech, is an online business. There is no ignoring that. In fact, the longer you ignore it, the larger the risk that a competitor doesn’t. Also, the biggest growth stories of the past decade has been off the back of great customer experiences and in turn great customer service (Amazon first and foremost). Not changing with your customers is essentially disappointing them. For the sake of your bottom line, don’t do that. Saying “social media is not us” no longer applies. Whoever you are, it’s simply not true.
Responding to negative customer reviews
Another very public thing that all companies have to deal with is getting reviews. A bad customer review is virtually impossible to avoid, so chances are you will get one from time to time. When you do, it is important that you do the following:
- Respond quickly – this is a customer who’s probably disappointed, distressed or both.
- Take responsibility – even if it’s not your fault.
- Be sorry (for the customer having had a bad experience).
- Work out a solution with the customer.
If a bad customer review is left for long without a response, people can lose confidence in your company. A company that doesn’t respond (quickly) to a bad experience is not very trustworthy in the eyes of many customers. Try to respond to all reviews as quickly as possible. Even a very short response where you simply recognize the customer’s position is better than no reply.
It’s easy to blame somebody else like a fulfillment center or a distributor for a bad experience. Don’t be tempted to go down that route. Your customer didn’t choose your fulfillment center or your distributor, nor do they care. They chose you. That means you are responsible for any mistakes even if the fulfillment center or the distributor is in fact at fault. You have to own up to it and take responsibility. The only finger-pointing done should be pointing at you. You can always take it up with the entity at fault later, but leave the customer out of that process.
Sorry really goes a long way. Even when a problem is not your fault, you still need to take responsibility and apologize to your customer. At the very least you can always be sorry that the customer has had a bad experience. No one wants that for their customers.
Work out a solution with the customer
You should always strive to find a satisfactory solution with your customers. Giving them more than one option and allowing them to choose how they would like to resolve the issue helps increase customer satisfaction in the end. This could be a reduction in price, a gift card as compensation, replacement of item, instructions on how to rectify the situation, etc. Ideally, you want to be able to reach out to the customer directly after the review has been posted as personal information will most likely be required, but if that’s not possible, when responding, address their comments and encourage them to contact your customer service to find a solution that works for both parties.
For the customers that you have already been in contact with privately, (whether they reached out on other channels or your team was able to contact them directly) it’s still important to publicly address their review for two reasons. The first reason is it’s important to show other customers that you have acknowledged the review and are taking action, otherwise it can look like you ignored it. The second reason is that the review may raise questions or concerns that others also want to have addressed. Therefore, thoroughly responding to the review can proactively help clear up any outstanding unknowns for other customers.
Here’s how the luggage brand Away handles customer reviews when they have already been in direct contact with the customer.