Want to know the difference between doing business 20 years ago versus today? Customer service has become the make or break of most small businesses. It can build you into a local hot spot, or it can crush your hopes and dreams in a weekend.
One of the most frequent customer service related questions that we get from business owners who are [still] reluctant about building a social media presence is something like “But what if someone writes bad reviews on Facebook?”
That question still haunts an unbelievable amount of [mostly old-school] business owner – and with good reason.
A couple of days ago I spoke to a small group of business owners about adding more social media to their marketing plans for several reasons. Among those reasons is the fact that they can see what customers think of their brand. This is a very important part of social media, but it is what most businesses are afraid of. They are afraid that their social media profiles will turn into a virtual comment boxes. They are afraid that too many people will complain about their brand to the point that it will make them look bad.
One reality you have to think about is that if people have a bad experience, they are going to talk crap about your brand. If they don’t write bad reviews on Facebook or another social media network, then they are going to go to their friends, family, co-workers, their kids friends parents, and the person behind them in line at the bank. I will agree that social media will allow bad publicity to spread much, MUCH quicker than traditional word of mouth, but if your business sucks then it will get out eventually.
This concern is valid, however, and has happened to some of the largest brands out there.
Just take a look at the 11 Biggest Social Media Disasters of 2012 from Mashable
But there is a sure fire way to turn this around so that a nasty comment actually helps build your brand in a bright shiny light.
I know this is going to sound crazy, but it’s actually an awesome thing when someone gives you a bad review (unless you’re in a pickle like Hobby Lobby – then you better have some expert PR people on your social networks). But this allows businesses to explain their position and try to rectify the issue.
- Customer: Hey I don’t like your product.
- Business: I’m sorry you feel that way, what don’t you like about it? – Suzie
- Customer: It broke the first day I used it.
- Business: I apologize that the product you received broke, our defective product return rate is only 10%, so as an apology I would like to send you two products at no cost and a refund for the one that was broken. Is that Okay with you – Suzie
- Customer: Wow, thank you! ‘
- Business: Absolutely! And again I’m so sorry that this happened, after all awesome people like you are why we are here! So thank YOU! – Suzie
The issue was resolved, the customer is happy and that person shares their satisfaction with friends.
So moral of the story is don’t be afraid of social media embrace it. Use it to see what your customers issues are, and if it is a common problem you know that I needs to be addressed immediately.