25 May How to Turn Complaints into Customers
What do you do when your business gets a complaint? Ignore it? Get defensive? Do the very least to smooth things over?
Consumers have a lot more power to help or hurt a business than they have ever had before. Twenty years ago you might have been able to sweep the dirty little detractors under a rug. But now, one person can tell the whole world (or at least enough of it) about the guitar you broke, their crappy cable service or the refund you wouldn’t give.
Before you hit delete on their Facebook post, think about how you might be able to turn the negative feedback into something positive.
Getting defensive will not help anyone. Stay positive, professional and sincere. Put yourself in your customers shoes and try to see where they are coming from. Empathy goes a long way. If the comment is not accurate, correct it politely. Do not get in an argument with your customers.
Let users know who is responding. Your loyal customers might respond, too, and that’s great. But make sure when someone is responding on behalf of the business that they clearly identify their affiliation. Take this chance to humanize your business and show you have nothing to hide.
While you might want to delete comments on Facebook and your website, do not hit that button! Social media is about transparency. Deleting criticism could upset the customer and elevate the situation. A positive response, on the other hand, will help show potential customers you care.
Even when the truth hurts your business, tell it. If you made a mistake, admit it. Even if you don’t feel like it’s your company’s fault, an apology might be all the consumer wants. Remember, this is not personal. Don’t allow your pride to stand in the way of what’s best for your business. Inform customers when and how you will improve the situation.
Ignoring things does not make them go away. Get ahead of the situation. Try to make things right with the customer as soon as possible. While the complaint might die down, it could go viral if you do nothing. One study notes that consumers who engage with companies over social media spend an average of 30% more. Even customers who complained spent 20% more with the business.
Try to respond within 24 hours. When trying to cancel a weekend getaway one week ahead of time because my daughter was admitted to ICU, I was told the owner doesn’t deal with these things on the weekend. I know you’re busy, but respond as quickly as possible, or designate someone to respond when appropriate.
You may have answered the same question a hundred times and you’re dying to say, “Get your head out of the sand and read what I already said.” Please don’t. Your customers have limited time and they just want help. If they found what they were looking for, they wouldn’t have asked you.
Point users to valuable information on your website or other approved websites. Follow up with users when new information is available. And do it over and over again.
Turning Complaints into Dollars
If someone is vocal enough to post complaints in a public venue, they will probably post positive reviews, as well. If you win this customer back, you kept their business, showed their network that you care and hopefully will get some positive publicity from your professional customer service. Remember, engaged customers (happy or upset) spend more money with your business.
Comment Policy… To have or not to have?
I once said that if you are on social media, then you need a comment policy. However, websites like Yelp, TripAdvisor and more allow consumers to post feedback where potential customers look for reviews. If there is the slightest possibility that consumers will review your business online, then you need to know how to respond to comments. And a comment policy will certainly help you and your employees. The good news is I already created one for you. Check out and use this comment policy.