Tradies are rated based on the quality, value and the reliability of the services they provide. One negative comment or a bad review made online can spread like wildfire causing unbearable loss to your business and reputation.
Many Tradies, therefore, are skeptical of having an online presence fearing that a single complaint from a customer on a public platform will harm their entire business. But irrespective of your online presence, customers can get negative about you on review websites, forums or their own personal social profiles.
It therefore makes sense for you to be a part of these platforms and take any bad reviews as an opportunity to set the record straight, rather than let the dissatisfied customer badmouth your product or services.
According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, customer complaints that are worded politely may actually increase the likelihood that a customer will purchase from your business. This makes it clear that it’s highly important for you to know how to handle negative comments and reviews.
Here are a few guideposts for you to follow:
- Respond in Real Time
- Investigate the Complaint
- Offer to Make It Better
- Don’t Feed the Trolls
- Promote Good Feedback
If a disgruntled customer leaves a negative complaint on your business’s Facebook page or Twitter feed, the worst thing you can do is ignore it. Not replying to their comment can infuriate the person even more, making them add more negative tweets, comments and reviews on social channels and review sites. This will make the situation potentially worse for your business.
The faster you handle negative comments on your social media channels, blog, and review websites, the more caring you look. Monitor review sites and all your social channels regularly to make sure that any negative response is addressed at the earliest.
Set up a Google Alert to know whenever your brand name is mentioned online. Reply to all complaints politely and immediately. The following is a good way to reply to a customer: “We greatly apologize for the trouble. We will look into the matter asap. Would you please contact us at email@example.com and give us the details about the problem?“
After getting the details about the issue, investigate the complaint. It is important to determine the legitimacy of the complaint. When a customer is venting about a defective product or bad service on your social channels, you should determine whether there is any truth to the claim rather than deleting or ignoring the comment. Some customers aren’t genuine or their complaints aren’t legitimate.
The negative comment can be a legitimate customer complaint or a troll’s rant. You need to handle both in different ways. If you find that it’s a valid customer complaint, take appropriate steps quickly.
Once you’ve scrutinized the validity of the complaint, contact the customer and apologize for your mistake. Though, just apologizing for your fault is not sufficient; back your apology with action to solve their problem.
Ensure them that you have listened to their problem, that you understand their concern, and are ready to solve it.
You need to go a step ahead and offer something extra to the disgruntled customer. It’s the best way to turn angry customers into happy loyal ones. You can provide them a 10% discount on your next service.
This approach will turn a disgruntled customer into a brand evangelist and a raving fan who will keep coming back to you.
Moreover, since social platforms are transparent, others will take a note of this and in future may contact you for service. This action will improve your brand’s reputation in ways that no other marketing tactic can.
On investigating the complaint you may find it isn’t a legitimate grievance, but mischief caused by a troll who is out to defame your brand. Trolls basically are attention seekers who have no actual interest in your service but are present on social platforms just to tarnish your reputation.
If you find that someone is trolling you on a review website, you should contact the concerned site. Provide the site with proof and ask them to delete the contentious review.
On the other hand, if the troll has commented on your social channels or your blog, ignore them. Avoid replying to them, but don’t forget to monitor their tweets/comments about your brand to know if it’s affecting your follower base. If you find it leading to a crisis, delete their comments but never argue or fight back a troll on a social channel.
Reports suggest that 62% of consumers change their mind after reading 1-3 negative reviews about a product or a service. The Internet is great at getting out the truth, but Google doesn’t always show the correct picture.
Sometimes a negative comment can cause a problem for your online reputation because it continuously shows up in related keyword searches. Those are the times when you should use more and more favorable online reviews for similar keywords to outweigh the negative ones on the Web.
After you have resolved a customer issue, ask them to update their experience with your business. Promote these genuine reviews on your website and social channels.
Add a discreet widget on your website displaying the latest reviews, or create a dedicated page for customer reviews. Tweet or post on Facebook reviews in brief, linking to the detailed ones on your site. Marketing lots of positive feedback will help you overshadow the bad reviews.
Negative comments or reviews are inevitable. But when you deal with complaints effectively, irate customers will not only turn into your repeat customers but will also tell their friends how awesome your service is, and encourage them to buy from you. Negative feedback is therefore a golden opportunity for your business to earn the trust of your customers and grow stronger.