By Stephanie Sims
Before social media, people who felt like they had a bad experience with a business, whether bad customer service, a poor product, etc., would complain to the company. But now, thanks to social media, these people can not just complain to the company, but also blast their poor experience all over the Internet. Through Yelp, Twitter and Facebook, if a customer didn’t have a stellar experience, be prepared to hear about it.
Social Media and Your Online Reputation
While this is many an agent or business’ worst fear, tackling customer complaints via the Internet can be beneficial, too. Instead of seeing a complaint online and getting defensive or engage in angry banter, analyze the situation and use it to your advantage. How can there be an advantage in seeing a bad incidence of your business or customer service blasted online be a good thing? For starters, a vocal customer is telling you what’s wrong and most likely, how it can be corrected, thus, possibly keeping him as a customer. Business2Community has great tips as to how to salvage your reputation specifically online; here are the takeaways.
Analyze the Situation
How does the customer mention you? What’s the urgency of the situation? If they mention your company name, but without an @ sign on Twitter or linking to you on Facebook, they want their friends to know that they are upset by your treatment, but don’t want you participating in the conversation yet, and are also upset enough to tell their friends about their experience. The situation is more urgent if they call your attention to it by naming you or your business with an @ or # on Twitter or linking to you on other mediums, and want you to know it. (Note: on Yelp, you’ll have to monitor your page to keep track of any complaints.)
Don’t panic if there’s a problem, and follow these steps:
1. Address the person. Thank them for bringing the issue to your attention, whatever channel they chose (you gave it to them to use), and ask clarifying questions to keep the conversation open.
2. Identify the problem. Ask the following questions:
- Can you tell me more about it?
- Can you provide X or Y details?
- Has this happened before?
- What happened as a result of our product/service malfunction?
- Is there anything else that I can try to address at the same time?
3. Once you identify the problem, fix it! Document their complaint, then, make it right FAST. This is a world of instant gratification. Offer a freebie, a discount code, a free consultation, whatever it takes to make your customer happy.
As an agent, you should hopefully be able to “fix” complaints fast – make sure you or an assistant monitors all your social media channels so you’re kept abreast of any complaints!