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Don’t Open That Door

Don’t Open That Door

In this digital age, customers have new ways to make their views known. No longer does it require a march back into a retail premise to harangue the unsuspecting salesclerk. There is a plethora of online channels where customers can vent their frustrations.

This is both challenge and opportunity for brands.

Listening and learning

Before responding to any negative review, it’s vital to understand whether it is a genuine customer review or the work of a malicious actor. It’s not unknown for companies to wage aggressive negative review wars on social media against local competitors.

The vast majority of reviews, however, are legitimate customer reviews. This makes them valuable feedback about your business and how it is performing – and, therefore, well worth listening to.

If you approach them with the right mindset, negative reviews can be transformed into a win-win for you and your customer.

Take a stepped approach to your response.

#1. Is the complaint legitimate? To answer this question, it might be worth putting yourself in the shoes of your customer. How would you feel about this type of service?

#2. How can you show you understand? The customer wants to feel their voice is being heard. By acknowledging there was a problem and showing empathy with how they feel, you are already meeting the first of your customer’s needs.

#3. Invite the customer to a private channel to address their complaint. Ideally, you don’t want to have a backwards in forwards in public before you get to a satisfactory solution.

Even one-to-one, always respond with courtesy, no matter the tone in which your customer addresses you. If you deal with them professionally, chances are they’ll calm down and apologise for any rudeness they have shown.

#4. Understand what the customer wants. What would a satisfactory conclusion to this complaint look like for them?  Remember that dealing successfully with a complaint has a benefit that goes beyond this individual customer. If your audiences see that you take customer complaints seriously and do your best to rectify the situation, it reflects positively on your brand. Customers know that no one gets it right all the time. By demonstrating that you step up when things go wrong, you’re giving them an incentive to choose you over the competition.

#5. Measure customer demands against your own priorities. Is what the customer wants worth it for you? What can you offer them that meets this need?

In life, it’s good to appreciate feedback as an opportunity to improve and grow. In marketing, the same rule holds true.

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