If You Can’t Say Something Nice…Come Back Later.

woman sticking out her tongue

It’s really not hard to get frustrated sometimes. We all have bad days and sometimes those pesky unflattering customer comments and poor reviews on our social media sites can really drive us over the edge. We all want to fire back quickly and tell them their not only wrong about what they are thinking, but their also probably the dumbest person on earth for even thinking that you were wrong about something.

Stop! Move your hands slowly away from the keyboard and take a moment to realize that what you type in response could make or break the relationship you have with that customer. Never respond when you are frustrated or angry and trying to prove your side of the story. If you are feeling emotional about what they said about you or your business, try to view it from their perspective to see if their comment has any merit. Then, try not to handle it in the following ways:

1. Ignore the comment. This will only serve to inflame the situation and will have the customer feeling like you don’t care about them and their situation. Result? You probably lost a customer.

2. Delete their comment from your page. Well, now you did it. There are few things worse than being ignored on a social media website. One of them is knowing that the person you tried to contact has deleted your comment or review. Result? You not only lost a customer, but they may have told their friends.

3. Come back at them with a “Actually, you’re wrong.” attitude. Ok, so at least you responded back right? Wrong. Your customers do not want to be told they are wrong or that their opinions about your business are off base. They want to be right. We all want to be right. That’s why you thought it was necessary to tell them that they are wrong and you’re right. Result? Loss of client and some of their friends are told to never go see you at your store.

4. Respond back in anger with harsh language. If this is where your mind immediately goes when you get a bad review about your business, you should not handle your social media. You must have forgotten that most Facebook or Twitter users have an average of 100 friends and followers. When you speak harshly to them, you’re reputation will be trashed throughout their entire circle of influence. Do you want to take your chances and hope they don’t have a lot of friends? Result. Guaranteed loss of client, their friends and many of their friend’s friends and acquaintances.

So what is the proper response to negative customer feedback?

Validate their issue by taking the time to specifically mention what they complained about in their comment. Be as nice as possible with no passive aggressive or snide remarks, and finally, offer to make it right.

Whether you offer them a free meal, a discount on their next visit, or in some unfortunate cases, fire the employee that treated them so rudely, you need to make them feel like you care. In all, respond back to all the reviews you can with dignity, and treat your customers as you would want to be treated.

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No Incentives? Good Luck!

4,840,000

That’s a pretty big number right? Well that is the number of search results that came up when a search for “auto repair Philadelphia” was typed into Google.

Why am I saying anything about this and why should you care? Well, imagine that you own an auto repair shop in Philadelphia, and you’ve done a pretty good job of posting your business all over the internet. Now imagine your nearest competition has not done quite as well with the online listings, but his website is dynamic and he is offering some great cost savings and loyalty incentives on his website. Even if you do a great job leading people to your site, you are most likely missing a great opportunity to gain business by not offering specials, coupons or loyalty programs on your website. Your competition is likely to steal many potential customers away from you.

Let’s say, hypothetically, that you offer 10% off any major auto repair over $200. Not bad. You may say, “That’s too much off during this economy.” Well, with that coupon, you may have just gained 10 new customers that average $400 in repair costs. Now give them back $40 each to cover the 10% off coupon. How does ending up with an additional $3,600 in your pocket sound? It sounds pretty good to me too.

6 Tips for Providing Better Online Customer Support

Help button on a keyboard

There is no better way to gain a following online than maintaining proper online customer support and interaction. This doesn’t mean answering the feedback you get on Facebook once a week. I mean really going out of your way to stay on top of your social media and customer review site listings. Make sure you not only answer quickly, but you know what you are talking about when you give them an answer.

Take a moment to read what Mashable.com says about the importance of quality online customer service.  6 Tips for Providing Better Online Customer Support.