Trust, it is the fundamental strength that binds businesses, customers, and your employees, but trust and a lack of it can severely damage your business in many different ways. The one overarching issue that can cause irreparable damage to your business is negative feedback, especially from the customer. With the various platforms available to customers so they can vent their frustrations, one negative comment that hits the nail on the head, can set off a chain reaction that will see people leaving your business to shop with your direct competitor. Your reputation is on the line, so how can you stop negative customer feedback damaging this?
The Importance Of An Online Presence
Your identity is everything with regards to whether your customers will trust you or not. By establishing your identity, it serves two functions. The first function is that your information about the company is accurate and up-to-date. Secondly, by keeping a steady presence online, it helps to keep a good tab on negative reviews or comments from customers. The main purpose of an online presence, apart from keeping tabs on customers, is that by having a good quality online presence is that you will show your customers that you care about them. The one thing that will ensure a steady relationship between you and your customers is the notion of transparency. Nowadays this is achieved completely by having a ubiquitous online presence. And by keeping tabs on negative reviews, or by looking out for those people who have mentioned you in a negative light across the internet, you can immediately jump on the issue, by addressing it directly with the customer in question. This has been the one saving grace of businesses in relation to social media and customer service. Because a customer can call you out directly on poor customer service, by including you directly in comments, such as on Twitter, the fact is that you can immediately jump on the problem and endeavor to address it, not in a roundabout way, but directly with the customer, this is a perfect opportunity to turn a customer who potentially hates your business into a customer for life. The social media soapbox and the fact that you can address problems directly with a customer, in front of an audience, will earn you sufficient brownie points, but will also allow new customers to see how you deal with problems on a personal basis. This is where having an online presence really comes into its own when it comes to damage limitation by way of negative comments.
Resolving The Problem Constructively
It’s never easy to get negative comments from a customer, but the art is in resolving the problem, not just efficiently, but in a way to build upon how you deal with them, and any other customer in the future. The best way to do this, apart from going directly to the customer, and ascertaining what it is they have specific issues with, is getting feedback through various means. The common survey is a handy way, but the issue with this is that, firstly, surveys are usually structured in such a way that you won’t get detailed enough feedback, and secondly, most people will tell you flat out that they won’t have the time to complete one. This can be a tricky hurdle to jump over, but when you do, there are various customer service models in soliciting an emotional response from customers. Ultimately, the compulsion to complete a survey or to give feedback is because they are emotionally invested, and sometimes delivering bad customer service is the only way for you to get any sort of weighty feedback. So, resolving the problem with a customer means structuring a questionnaire, survey, or feedback form in such a manner that you are getting detailed responses. It’s only at this point that you can get under the customer’s skin and find out what is really annoying them about your business. And by earnestly asking for detail in where you are going wrong, this does something very important to the customer, it puts them in the upper hand. While everyone has heard the adage “the customer is always right,” this is the time when it has never been truer. And by listening to detailed customer feedback, you can begin to reset the balance.
The Impact Of Feedback On Your Business
Negative feedback from a customer is very damaging to your business, which is no surprise. If you can endeavor to resolve the issue with a customer and turn them around by making positive fundamental changes in your business, and not just buying them off with some gift vouchers, this will generate the one important piece of marketing any business needs, the power of word of mouth. For a customer that you are potentially going to lose, the notion of gift vouchers is not a suitable option at all, but we’ve seen how general customer feedback is rewarded by offering discounts on gift vouchers to customers. The effect of your public image, as well as your brand, will be in how you deal with your customers. So if you have a negative review that is particularly stinging about every manner of your business, the important thing to do is to respond positively, but, above all else, in a helpful tone. This is far easier to manage in online reviews, as we have seen countless times where a contact center operative does a disservice to the company they are working for by verbally attacking the customer. Handling a negative review, whether over the phone or online, communicates to every customer, past, present, or future, how your brand manages conflicts. And this goes back to the notion of trust. Trust isn’t just about the product; it is about how your business is able to deal with issues that arise from these products. Handle it right, and it won’t damage your business at all, in fact, it will repair your business to the Nth degree.
Negative customer feedback is something every business has to contend with at some point, but in covering these three areas, you will be successful in nurturing and maintaining a trusting relationship with your customers.