Seed Technologies is often approached by customers who are concerned about negative reviews they receive online. While it is understandable that no one is perfect, and a company cannot be fully expected to please everyone 100% of the time, if not handled correctly, the negative public feedback can be damaging to the company's reputation. The online presence and social media interactions can produce anxiety for those corporate executives and decision makers who may have little experience in handling online criticism. The "ostrich strategy" of ignoring it in hopes that it will go away will not work. Even if you do not have a Facebook page or a website, your customers will still be able to leave their comments and reviews on Google, Yahoo!, or yellowpages.com. If handled properly, however, feedback of any nature can become an opportunity.
It is necessary to analyze whether the negative claims are legitimate. If a legitimate, negative experience resulted from poor customer service, miscommunication, etc., it is important to reach out to such a customer, apologize to them, and attempt to remedy their grievances. If the complaint resulted from their disagreement with your policies, this is a good opportunity to reevaluate and explain to the online community why you have these policies in place. The secret here is to act quickly, before the situation gets out of control and causes a serious damage to your organization. Here is what you need to do:
- Consistently monitor customer feedback. This includes searching Google, Yahoo, and Twitter for reviews and complaints about your company on a regular basis. In addition, never leave complaints filed with Better Business Bureau unanswered or unresolved.
- Stay calm and listen. Customers can point out some weak areas of your operations, addressing which can make your business stronger and more viable. Customers can also offer valuable insight regarding needed product and service development.
- Identify problems and solve them. Never allow frustration, even if some or all of the content of a complaint is untrue or unfair to your company. View every complaint as an opportunity. This can be an opportunity to clarify your policies, to show the world that you care about your customers and your reputation, and to offer a solution or remedy. Match the reach of your response to that of the complaint. In other words, the more publically the complaint is expressed, the more publically it should be addressed.
- Generate positive feedback. It is a fact that dissatisfied, angry customers will go to greater lengths to tell the world about their negative experiences than satisfied, happy customers of their positive ones. Some of the negative feedback cannot be addressed directly – people may choose not to leave their names or contact information. Consider developing ways to collect and showcase positive customer feedback to outweigh the negative one. For instance, encourage your happy customers to tell about their positive experiences online. You will be surprised at how many will think it is a great way to say 'thank you' for the product or service you offered them. Add a page to your website, with an online form, where you invite your customers to leave feedback. This way, you will be able to remedy complaints and, with your customers' permission, take the positive reviews and publish them on your website's testimonials page, on your Facebook page, or Google reviews.
To learn more, sign up for our complimentary Search Engine and Social Media breakfast seminar (to be held on April 7, 2011; RSVP here) or give us a call at 918-742-0028 to schedule a free consultation.
April 7th. We are offering a complimentary seminar on Internet Marketing and Social Media. Give us a call if you would like to attend. 918-742-0028.
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