There are many ways customers can communicate about their experiences with your business. Social media has given consumers numerous ways to leave reviews, and they will not always be positive. You will find plenty of reviews for your company on Yelp, and people may tell all their friends about their visit to your store on their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages. The last thing you want to do is ignore these criticisms. If a lot of people say the same thing about your business, then you need to take prompt, effective action.
Actively Listen to Customers
It is natural for business owners to instinctively become defensive when they get negative feedback. This will not help your business grow. All entrepreneurs need to learn the art of active listening. One basic component of this is restating what the customer said. Even when communicating online, it shows you heard the customer’s complaints and know what to do next. It is the first step in validating your customers. You should also teach your employees how to actively listen, so if a customer complains in the store, then they can show compassion and respect.
People expect immediacy with everything related to social media. Businesses should inspect review pages at least once a day to respond to all complaints. An actual person should write the responses. People know when they are talking to a chatbot, so you want to give that personal touch. Otherwise, customers will continue to send negative messages to all of their friends. Businesses with call centers will have an easier time accomplishing this because customers with complaints know where to turn to.
Analyze Common Threads in Feedback
You can offer one disgruntled customer a coupon or free product, but that will not solve the root of the problem. You need to analyze all the negative reviews you get to see if there are any common themes. Do people complain about how slow the service is? Do many customers single out one particular employee by name? You need to make sure this same problem does not continue to occur. When these customers return and see that you fixed the underlying issue, they may become recurring patrons.
Utilize an Escalation Plan
When your employees find a complaint, they should know precisely where to take it. The last thing customers want to hear is “That is not my department” with no follow-up. You should document the escalation process to each individual point. This should relate to as many different channels as possible whether you get critiques over the phone, through email or over social media. You want to follow up with the customer after the issue is resolved to make sure he or she is happy.
Learn From the Experience
You should not feel bad about getting negative reviews. Every company will get them sooner or later. The important part of the experience is knowing where you need to improve, so your business runs more efficiently. To do this, every person working for you needs to be on-board. Together, you can give your customers the shopping experience they deserve.
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