Let’s face it, human beings are the only animals on this planet that are concerned with what their fellow humans think and say about them. There aren’t any lions staying up late worrying about their reputation.
The need for feedback is one that can’t be contained, and when it comes to owning a business, comments and opinions are as valuable as new customers. How many times have you heard the saying, “There’s no advertising like word of mouth?”
As the Internet has matured, and smartphones have become as common as rain in April, feedback on a business has moved to the front of the line. Websites such as Yelp and UrbanSpoon have made and broken, numerous businesses. Besides these websites, your own website should have a place for your customers to make comments – both good and bad.
Business owners work day and night to provide the very best service and products, but there’s no pleasing every customer – so what do you do when a bad comment appears? The first rule is DON’T PANIC. Getting revved up about someone’s negative experience is not going to help the situation; it’s only causing more stress. Take a deep breath; the end of the world is not here.
The next step you should take is to read the comment and reflect on what the customer is saying. Be honest with yourself and ask your employees for their reaction.
Once this is done, you need to rectify the situation. Contact the customer if possible and ask them about their experience.
Listen and take notes. After you’ve heard what they have to say, offer to make it right. Whether it’s a refund, a replacement or a gift certificate – it’s vital to show them that this experience, although negative, is not common.
Now that you’ve earned a second chance, ask the customer if they wouldn’t mind posting again about your business and mention what you did to right the wrong.
This isn’t a bribe, this is asking for your fair day in court! Remember also to thank the customer for his input – how can you correct a problem if it’s not brought to your attention?
Comments and criticisms are hard to take, but they help improve our performance. When they’re published online, the feeling of being exposed to the world is hard to overcome, but with a cool head and a well-thought-out process, you can turn a negative into a positive!